Forbes' List of the Highest Paid Television Actresses May Make You Wonder Why You Even Bother Getting Up in the Morning
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Forbes' List of the Highest Paid Television Actresses May Make You Wonder Why You Even Bother Getting Up in the Morning

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | July 18, 2012 | Comments ()


Maybe I'm being a little harsh with the headline; I wrote it after only having seen the top five. The rest of the list includes plenty of women who do not make a living by allowing cameras to follow them around while they shop. I am somewhat surprised at who is at the top of the list, and I have to assume that some of the money came from Sofia Vergara's role in The Three Stooges and her prolific commercial work (Julie Bowen, who I assume makes a comparable salary on "Modern Family" is not on the list at all). It is kind of neat about Vergara, too, as she was a former farmer's daughter from Colombia. AMERICAN DREAM (by way of Colombia).

Otherwise, the list includes the foursome from "Desperate Housewives," and several others who earned their salaries by virtue of longevity: Their shows have been on for many years, and the syndication money has started to roll in (Tina Fey, of course, earns that money as star, creator, and writer of "30 Rock.")

I do wonder why Alyson Hannigan is on the list, but Cobie Smulders is not?

Poor Kourtney Kardashian. You think she has to borrow money from her sisters?

Here's the complete list, per Forbes.

Sofia Vergara -- $19 million

Kim Kardashian -- $18 million

Eva Longoria -- $15 million

Bethany Frankel -- $12 million

Khloe Kardashian Odom -- $11 million

Tina Fey -- $11 million

Mariska Hargitay -- $10 million

Zooey Deschanel -- $9 million

Felicity Huffman -- $9 million

Ellen Pompeo -- $9 million

Kate Walsh -- $8 million

Teri Hatcher -- $8 million

Marcia Cross -- $8 million

Kaley Cuoco -- $8 million

Alyson Hannigan -- $7 million

Marg Helgenberger -- $7 million

Melissa McCarthy -- $6 million

Julianna Margulies -- $6 million

Kyra Sedgwick -- $6 million

Courteney Cox -- $5 million

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • e jerry powell

    So, since Helgenberger hasn't actually been in an episode of CSI since January, I assume that the bulk of her money at present from syndication residuals, because it doesn't look like she has a damn thing lined up right now.

  • MickyD are the Kardashian's even on this list as they are surely not considered actresses when they are just being themselves ??

  • MC

    Kim Kardashian out earning people with talent makes me sick
    Re Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders- Alyson's probably includes Buffy residuals

  • laylaness

    Bullshit! *stomps angrily out of the room*

  • Sofia

    Kim makes lots from endorsement deals.

    No, I'm not ashamed to know that. I watch the show and it's hilarious

  • jane

    better them than Toddlers and Tiaras or Dance Moms. those women, yikes.

  • Jezzer

    And that just puts more money in the Kardashians' pockets and encourages the networks to devote more time to this shit. If you insist on watching these people, even if just to make fun of them, couldn't you at least torrent the episodes so they don't see a penny from it?

  • Sofia

    I watch the show online and I don't care if they make more/less money. They're funny and I enjoy the show. I make fun of them and sometimes I laugh with them. Nothing wrong with that from my point of view.

  • and just like that, it all gets taken back.

    $18MM? MOTHRA FAULKER Ask me NOW if I'd reconsider letting someone take a piss on me for videotape, if it meant making $18 MM a year.

    No, don't. I can't bear the hypocrisy of what my feeble answer would have to be.

    Gawd I hate the Kardasians. And I hate anyone who helps promote them so they are valued like this. I hate the society that provides for the Queen of Golden showers like this. Hells bells, I hate Ray Jay for peeing on her during sex.

    So few bullets, so little time, isn't that how the old adage goes? happy faulking birthday to me.

  • Archie Leach

    kimkuntrashian = talentless hack famewhore with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever.

  • Birdie

    But Cobie Smulders was in Avengers..still not on the list? Or does that not count? I am kind of happy Alyson is so successful. Lover her. I would be pissed if I was Kourtney Kardashian now with two babies. She actually needs the money.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Probably last year's numbers. Colbie will get a bump in this (& next) years' gross from The Revengers, plus a bump to her asking rate.

  • Matt Brown

    Alyson alone made $3 million from the American Pie movie. I highly doubt Cobie got that for her Avengers work. I'm sure Kourtney makes enough to survive. It's not like we are talking about some unknown homeless mother of two.

  • Birdie

    Fair enough. Also.. poor Alexis Denisof, is he on any show?

  • Sirilicious

    Ask and thou shalt receive :)

  • Jane

    He's on HIMYM periodically. He's a character actor. If you looked at his IMDB, you'd be surprised.

  • Sirilicious

    Yeah, i am sure he cries himself to sleep every night. :)

  • Birdie

    Really liked him on Angel and HIMYM. He should be on more good shows as a regular. Just watched an interview from some award show and the interviewer didn't even know his name.

  • Sirilicious

    Oh i agree completely. I loved him on Angel and he got a chance to show range on Dollhouse too (and took it!). I hope his role in Joss' Much Ado about Nothing will get him some attention.

    If he's anything like his extremely pragmatic spouse though, he's not letting his happiness be influenced by shit that doesn't matter in the big picture. He's got a great family and financial security, so that's why i (and i hope he himself) believe he is no "poor alexis".

  • Anne

    If we take into account that pays only television I think Mariska Hargitay is the highest-paid actress. She earns $ 500,000 per episode of SVU. By the way very well deserved. Mariska is fantastic. In every sense.

  • celery

    I think it was a Pajiban who once upon a time put the idea in my head of Mariska Hargitay as Catwoman...I think she would be fabulous. and much more age-appropriate to play opposite Bale than Anne Hathaway.

  • seth

    What I could do with Sofia Vergara and 19 million...

  • Maguita NYC

    What I could do with 19 million without Sofia...

  • Mrcreosote

    This reads like the Devil's "contracts to update" list for 2015. With a few exceptions.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Okay. Now this explains all the fake tanning! It totally makes sense to me now.

  • If we took out the reality show folks, this list would make perfect sense and we'd have room for other actual actresses.

  • anon

    I notice Alyson Hannigan is last in the credits of HIMYM with 'and Alyson Hannigan'. She also had a similar credit in the last season of Buffy.
    I do recall she was making a lot of money in the last season of Buffy as well. I'm guessing she just commands a higher price, along with the endorsements others noted.

  • Orleanas

    What a sad state of affairs when the likes of Kim Kardashian earns 7 million more than Tina Fey. Oh, the power of porn.

    What a depressing state of affairs that all the people on this list earn more in a day, possible an hour, than I will make in a year...and more.

    What an even more depressing state that I am arguing for a millionaire making more or less than other millionaires.

  • I will never consider someone with Kardashian in their name an actress. Aren't they on a "reality" show? lol

  • Orleanas

    I think we have to call Kim K. an "actress" because she's playing it up that she's more than just a blow up doll.

  • I think Alyson Hannigan has an endorsement deal with a shampoo. Maybe that's why she made more than Cobie Smulders.

  • teec

    Neal Patrick Harris also said on Stern that she gets paid more than any of the other actors on HIMYM because she was on Buffy and the American Pie movies.

  • Yup, she shills for Head & Shoulders. I watch waaaay too much tv.

  • bleujayone

    Just because one is paid to act like a fool, doesn't make one an actual actress.

  • Jezzer

    Yeah, it's not acting. The Kardashians really are that vapid and repulsive.

  • Maguita NYC

    This reminds me of an episode of Bones. When Bones was still watchable.

    Dr. Brennan thought that The Jersey Shore was a documentary on a real tribe of socially-challenged idiots living on the Jersey Shore.

    "Eureka! A gathering of tribal Guidos".The Best thing is when she describes the homo-erotic like brotherhood that binds those Guidos!

  • BierceAmbrose

    Acting? More like a documentary, I think.

  • jane

    I would rather them be called actresses considering how fake their show is. They are clearly not being themselves, that's for sure. Instead of actress, maybe we can call them pathological liars?

  • BierceAmbrose

    Oh, Jane, I so wish this were true. Earnestly. Desperately, even.

    Sadly, over time I have come to believe, despite my horror at the thought, that they're really like they seem. The show's events are contrivance that renders Japanese game shows sincere by comparison. Yet, I can no longer resist the conclusion that these primates are unadulterated (meaning pure, having no other elements) fame-whores who see what they do as normal, inevitable & even admirable.

  • Maguita NYC

    The world is so wrong and sullied when a Kardashian makes more money than the grandly brilliant Ms.Tina Fey.

  • Fredo

    Meanwhile I would pay double what anyone on that list is making to get Margo Martindale back on TV.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Admit it - the United States is under the employ of the Mayan empire

  • Maguita NYC

    I was thinking of rather following the fashionable Roman Empire, and creating my own Vomitorium after reading this indigestible desecrating piece of diarrhea.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Whoa...does that mean,'d actually be regurgitating this very piece of 'news'?

  • Maguita NYC

    Vomitorium: a room where after stuffing one's face for hours, you can go to throw up in, so you can head back to stuffing your face even more.
    There is no escaping it, the K! family is everywhere, I cannot take anymore, need to make space.

  • Judge Holdenmynuts

    thank you Maguita: Vomitorium will be the name of my new metal band

  • John G.

    A vomitorium is a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheatre

  • Maguita NYC

    You've explained were it might be situated, not what it's used for. Especially the vomitorium of private homes of old.

  • John G.

    Private Homes? Do people have amphitheaters at home? A vomitorium is just a big open exit for amphitheaters. It has nothing to do with vomit.

  • Maguita NYC

    @Gathly:disqus I understand your point, you are basing the word on its literal definition.

    While I was playing with the general misconception that ancient Romans designated spaces for the purpose of a binge and purge cycle. As it is often misconstrued in movies and books alike.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Oh, dude, I'm familiar with vomitoriums - I just figured that because of the phrasing of your reply you'd start throwing up the very piece of news that got you to start the vomitorium in the first place. Which would be pretty awesome...

  • It's "Colombia."

    (yes, I'm feeling cranky this morning; what's your point?)

  • Anne Lucchesi

    No no, that was driving me nuts too. Own your pedantry!

  • pajiba

    I was totally talking about the university. She went there, right? (Noted, corrected, and thanks, cranky pants).

  • ,

    I get that Longoria makes double what the other "DH" women get because she does lots of commercial work. What mystifies me is why she gets it. I've never thought she was particularly attractive, even when she was vamping it up in lingerie on the show. The idea she was supposed to be a former model seemed ludicrous to me, not just because she seems about 4-foot-11.

    Meanwhile, the less said about the K clan, the better.

    Bravo for you, Felicity Huffman. That you'd marry a schlump like Bill Macy gives the rest of us hope.

  • Ash

    Longoria is on a ridiculous cat food commercial in Australia. She's dancing around all sexily in lingerie to sell CAT FOOD.
    advertising (and Longoria) have hit an all-time low. good thing she's being paid for it.

  • Maguita NYC

    The only explanation for Eva is her ethnicity: Before the arrival of the fabulously curvaceous and loud Ms. Vergara, Langoria was able to promote herself as the fierce latina on TV. And her people were able to work it for so long, but I'm betting with Vergara getting everything, Langoria's star is on the decline.

    And not to shit further on everyone's gloomy realization, on how underrated porn stars are making more money than amazing actresses/writers: Kim Kardashian is also paid more per episode than Jon Hamm.

  • Puddin

    His name is William, and he is not a schlump!

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