Highest paid TV actresses

Every year Forbes presents the list of highest paid TV actresses. The top 20 highest-earning female TV stars earned a combined total of $183 million in the last year. Check out who made the list and which lady earns the most.

Kerry Washington, $3 million








Thanks to her role as Olivia Pope in Scandal, Kerry is the first Afircan American actress to play a lead in a prime-time drama since the 1960s. In addition to a salary increase on Scandal, the actress will start to earn regular checks thanks to a unique syndication deal with BET for the political drama.

Mindy Kaling, $4 million








Mindy is not only writing, producing and starring in her own comedy, The Mindy Project, but she’s receiving regular checks from syndicated episodes of The Office. The multi-talented actress is also working on a follow-up to her 2012 book, Is Everybody Hanging Out without Me?.

Whitney Cummings, $5 million








Though her two shows — NBC’s Whitney and E!’s Love You, Mean It — were axed this year, the comedienne is still making some bucks on the side as the co-creator of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, which was renewed for a third season and sold into early syndication for 2014.

Courteney Cox, $6 million

Arrivals at the LA Modernism Show opening night party benefitting 'P.S. Arts'







Cox’s Cougar Town (which she stars, produced and directs) was renewed for a fifth season in March and continues to earn her just under $200,000 an episode. The rest of the actress’ earnings stems from syndication deals from Friends and her work as a spokeswoman for Pantene.

Lena Dunham, $6 million








Most of the Girls creator’s 2013 earning stems from her $3.5 million book deal with Random House. Her six-year contract with HBO isn’t too bad too, bringing in about $150,000 an episode.

Zooey Deschanel, $6 million








The New Girl star received a sizable salary bump after her show was renewed for a third season. Zooey is also a singer in indie band She & Him and co-founder of HelloGiggles.com.

Julianna Margulies, $7 million








The Emmy-winning saw an increase in her paycheck after her show, The Good Wife, was sold into a syndication deal with Amazon, Hulu and Hallmark. Margulies’ endorsement deal with L’Oreal put her over the top with a $7 million yearly earning.

Amy Poehler, $7 million

2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach







Amy’s hit TV show Parks & Recreation was renewed for its sixth season earlier this year. She also made a million-dollar book deal with publisher It Books.

Alyson Hannigan, $8 million

Alyson Hannigan







The How I Met Your Mother star benefited from last-minute negotiations before the return for the ninth (and final) season of the CBS hit sitcom. Alyson earns about $300,000 per episode plus syndication for the highly re-run show.

Cobie Smulders, $9 million








Another How I Met Your Mother star is already earning $300,000 per episode salary plus syndication fees, but she also makes some money thanks to her roles in Avengers 2 and Captain America movies.

Ellen Pompeo, $10 million








Though she has no endorsement deals on her plate, the Grey’s Anatomy actress’ earnings comes from her $350,000 an episode deal with ABC medical drama and its syndication.

Melissa McCarthy, $10 million








McCarthy is one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. Identity Thief and The Heat were a hit at the box office, while her TV show, Mike & Molly, was recently renewed for a fifth season.

Kourtney, Khloe and Kim Kardashian, $10 million








Given the popularity of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the reality TV sisters expanded their empire and are earning big thanks to their clothing lines at Sears and QVC, beauty product line with Ulta, Dash boutiques and swag shop Kardashian Khaos in Las Vegas.

Tina Fey, $10 million








Though 30 Rock ended earlier this year, its creator and lead actress is still busy with work. Not only did the Saturday Night Live alum signed a 4-year deal with Universal TV, but she’s also slated to produce a workplace comedy for NBC.

Mariska Hargitay, $11 million








Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is the crime drama’s most successful franchise to date, so it’s no surprise that its lead actress is earning top dollars for her starring role. Hargitay has been on the show for 15 years and counting.

Kaley Cuoco, $11 million








Given that she’s only making $300,000 per episode for the lead role on The Big Bang Theory, the majority of Cuoco’s money comes from the comedy’s syndication across networks, which earns her an additional $1.5 million each year in reruns. She also made more than $2 million from her deals with Priceline and Toyota.

Sofia Vergara, $30 million








The Modern Family star has earned the title of Highest Paid TV Actress of 2013. This is her second year as the highest earning TV actress. In addition to the show, the Colombian beauty also holds endorsement deals with Diet Pepsi, Covergirl, Rooms to Go and Synthroid , as well as a clothing line with K-Mart.


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One response to “Highest paid TV actresses”

  1. Samuel says:

    Wow! What can I tell? Why not people who save somebody’s lives are paid so well, but those, who show off their nice faces and figures. I agree that acting is a rewarding job, but if they were paid less this wouldn’t be a problem. Why people, who really pay on stage, should be rich, and those, who really makes great achievements for the humanity are being so underestimated. The answer is clear it is all money business, this money bring more money, that is!