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The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln exit will make Daryl actor Norman Reedus one of TV's highest-paid stars

He's negotiating a deal that will see him earn more than any Game of Thrones star

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 30 May 2018 10:33 BST
The Walking Dead: Rick fights Daryl

Andrew Lincoln's unexpected departure from The Walking Dead will see Norman Reedus become one of the highest-paid stars on TV.

The AMC drama's lead star will leave the show during its ninth season leaving main character duties to fan favourite Daryl Dixon. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Reedus - who has appeared on the show since its first season - is negotiating a new deal that will see him net more than $20m.

Should Reedus' deal be accepted, he'll become one of the highest-paid stars on TV matching the salary of Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo and surpassing the amount earned by Game of Thrones stars including Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Reedus would fall behind Robert De Niro who has reported takings of $775,000 (£606,000) for his part in as-of-yet untitled TV project from director David O. Russell.

It's unknown how Lincoln will leave the series, but his absence will no doubt be felt in a drastic way. His exit will leave Reedus and Melissa McBride, who plays Carol Peletier, as the two remaining original characters on the series following the death of Rick's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Lennie James' decision to join the cast of spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.

Collider claims to know exactly how the character will leave hinting that he won't die but will instead be “walking away” by the time the ninth season wraps.

Lincoln's departure may come as a shock, however, producers of the show have insisted the series could continue without its lead star for many years now. Just months ago, Lincoln himself - during an interview with The Independent - notably hastened to answer a question regarding how long he'd like to remain on the series.

One other character whose fate remains in question is Maggie Rhee. Lauren Cohan, who has played the role since season two, got caught up in contract negotiations with rumours surrounding her exit intensifying upon her casting in the pilot of ABC comedy Whiskey Cavalier. While Cohan will return for season nine, Lincoln's departure means that anything can happen - especially considering Whiskey Cavalier has been granted a full series.

THR states that Cohan will be phased out of the show's second half much in the same way that Lincoln will be.

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