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Tammin Sursok Cites Salary as 1 Reason Why She Turned Down Starring Role on ‘Pretty Little Liars’

Tammin Sursok Cites Salary as 1 Reason Why She Turned Down Starring Role on 'PLL'
Tammin SursokPaul Archuleta/Getty Images

Tammin Sursok pulled back the curtain on how much some Pretty Little Liars cast members made during their time on the show.

The topic came in when Sursok, 40, who played Jenna Marshall on the hit Freeform series, spoke on her “Pretty Little Liars: True Crime” podcast about why she originally chose not to take the promotion from guest star to series regular.

“The first season I was a guest star and I was just in it for a scene here or there. Like, one scene and one line [in an episode],” Sursok explained to cohost Lindsey Shaw. “I get more and more in the series as it goes on.”

Sursok explained: “But then they offered me a series regular role and at the time I said no because I was up for three other pilots. My management didn’t want to get me locked in.”

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The actress considered the decision as a “disservice” to her after seeing the success of the show.

“I think if I had accepted a series regular role then I think I would have been in the series a lot more. But at the time, I just followed my management and went by what they were saying, which is don’t accept this,” she recalled. “I think I regret it. I am not sure but I think I do.”

Tammin Sursok Cites Salary as 1 Reason Why She Turned Down Starring Role on 'PLL'
Tyler Blackburn, Troian Bellisario, Ian Harding, Sasha Pieterse, Janel Parrish, Keegan Allen and Shay Mitchell attend a ‘Pretty Little Liars’ event on June 10, 2013 in Beverly Hills. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Pretty Little Liars, which aired from 2010 to 2017, was set in a fictional town where five best friends receive threats about their darkest secrets from an anonymous person named A. The series starred Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Lucy Hale, Ian Harding, Sasha Pieterse, Tyler Blackburn and Janel Parrish.

The series took inspiration from the novel series of the same name written by Sara Shepard, which didn’t keep Jenna around for nearly as long as the TV adaptation did.

“My character was supposed to be death so I thought, ‘What is the point of accepting a series regular role — which is actually paid less than a guest star — when my character in the books doesn’t make it?'” Sursok explained. “I just said no.”

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Sursok joked that there were other perks she missed out on by remaining a guest star, saying, “But I would have loved a parking spot on the lot as a series regular.”

During the show’s seven-season run, Sursok was recurring in every season except for the sixth installment. Shaw, 35, for her part, recurred on the show before being bumped down to guest star and then returning in a larger capacity after dealing with issues in her personal life.

Tammin Sursok Cites Salary as 1 Reason Why She Turned Down Starring Role on 'PLL'
Tammin Sursok attends the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Celebrates 100 Episodes event on May 31, 2014 in Hollywood. JB Lacroix/WireImage

“I got basically let go from Pretty Little Liars in season 5 because of the weight that I had lost, and it was really an embarrassing thing,” Shaw shared on the “Ned’s Declassified Podcast Survival Guide” podcast in July 2023. “I didn’t look good too skinny and then, you know, then when I started to put the weight back on, I couldn’t handle it being too heavy, so it kind of played into this dumb cycle.”

Shaw recalled show creator I. Marlene King breaking the news about their decision to write Paige off.

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“[I. Marlene was] like, ‘It’s not because of your acting,’ she’s like, ‘But do you have anybody to talk to?’ And I was like, ‘Um, no.’ And she’s like, ‘We’ll find somebody, and we have to let you go for now,’” she shared about the emotional conversation. “It was really sweet because they brought me back in season 7, and it was so lovely of that writing team to see that relationship and that character out. But I was — that was rough.”

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After Pretty Little Liars wrapped in 2017, the show lived on through spinoffs such as Ravenswood, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. The Max sequel series, which was rebranded as Pretty Little Liars: Summer School for season 2, is the only follow-up that received a renewal.

The new iteration introduced a friend group trying to track down a stalker who was suddenly obsessed with them. Pretty Little Liars: Summer School stars Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Maia Reficco, Zaria and Malia Pyles and is currently airing its second season.

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