‘Boy Meets World’ star Danielle Fishel says her dad and agent blew her off a table read while negotiating a big ‘pay gap’ in her contract


Danielle Fishel has appeared on all seven seasons of “Boy Meets World.”David Livingston/FilmMagic; ABC

  • Danielle Fishel has opened up about a “pay gap” between her and her male partners on “Boy Meets World.”

  • She said it persisted after she was made a series regular and her team advised her to skip a table reading.

  • She took her team’s advice, which her father agreed with, but thought she would get fired.

On Monday’s episode of the “Boy Meets World” podcast rewatch “Pod Meets World,” Danielle Fishel and her co-hosts Rider Strong and Will Friedle discussed the large “pay gap” in Fishel’s contract compared to her male teammates and how she jumped a read table during negotiations to close the gap.

The hosts and their guest Lauren Lapkus were discussing Fishel’s position on the show throughout the early seasons of the hit sitcom TGIF around 9:00 p.m. when Fishel referenced the pay disparity that persisted “even after I became a regular in the series.

“The excuse that was used was, ‘Well, we didn’t know you were going to be on the show,'” she said.

Danielle Fishel wears a black sweater and a blue top.

Danielle Fishel in 2009.Amy Graves/WireImage

Fishel’s role as Topanga Lawrence, the eventual love and wife of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), was initially just a minor guest star in the first season, filmed when Fishel would have been around 12 years old. Series creator Michael Jacobs and the producers saw the potential in the pairing, then expanded Topanga’s role to include more episodes in the first season and continue into season two.

“By season two, you knew that. By season two, I was being considered,” Fishel said, noting that the excuse that there was no money in the budget to pay her more should then disappear “out the window”. But that was not the case.

Fishel, now 41, said unnamed executives gave her and her team the same excuse until the end of the third season, although she and Strong had the same agent at the time.

Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle.

Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle.Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Friedle added that Fishel was paid significantly less even when the show “clearly built Cory and Topanga as one thing”.

Cory’s romance with Topanga technically began during his first episode, titled “Cory’s Alternative Friends”, when Topanga gave Cory her first kiss. When Fishel became a regular, it slowly gained at least as much significance as his friendship with Shawn (Strong).

“I had to threaten not to show up for a table read,” Fishel said, recalling her team’s fight to get her paid fairly.

Fishel said her father and agent Judy Savage (no relation to Fishel’s co-star Ben Savage) held firm in negotiations with either ABC or Disney (Fishel couldn’t remember which) and told her she had to skip a table read to show them she was “serious about not coming back” unless she was “treated fairly”.

Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel

Savage and Fishel in the 1998 episode “Boy Meets World” titled “Graduation”.ABC Photo Archive/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Fishel remembers sobbing in front of her team as a young teenager and saying, “You’re going to lose this job to me.” She said she was young and didn’t care about being paid fairly as much as her father and Judy did.

“If they end up firing me for not showing up for a table read, I’ll never talk to my family again,” the mother-of-two recalled thinking.

But she said she listened, noting, “I ended up not showing up.”

The topic of conversation changed quickly before the story ended, but Fishel continued to play the role of Topanga in each season of the show until it ended in 2000, so presumably the contract dispute has been resolved in a manner satisfactory to his team.

New episodes of “Pod Meets Word” air weekly.

Read the original Insider article

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