There is just something about television sitcoms that lure us completely in; we get a sort of attachment to the actors and actresses on our television screens because we see them every week. And unlike films, sitcoms last for years, so we see them evolve as characters as if they are in our very own homes. Very recently, in the last couple of years, TV has gotten more top-notch than cinema, with many shows becoming iconic in their own realm.
Would you ever picture life without Friends, The Sopranos, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory or Breaking Bad? Whether a show is a comedy or a drama, the actresses in the show make major dollar because of the views and hype that they generate. However, with our curious minds, taking a quick glance at the Forbes' highest-paid television actress list, makes it easy to find out which lovely and talented actresses make the most moolah at the end of their year. Now, with such high earnings, you'd think they give us some for our endless support ― just kidding. And by the way, most of these following actresses crazy financial gain comes from their roles in just one television show. With the longevity of most of these shows, the following 25 actresses have been allowed to sky-high salaries, so read on to discover the top-paid TV actresses.
24 Mandy Moore
The ratings of this tear-jerker show keep on rising, but the pays of the incredible cast members have remained static. This Is Us have renewed until 2019, but NBC has not yet revealed if they were going to give their cast members a raise amid the top-ratings they have earned the last season. Turns out, the highest paid actors on the show are Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore. With such talent in the hit show that has earned 8 Emmy nominations, the cast is still paid relatively very well. Moore is the receiver of $80,000 per episode, but we won't be surprised if it jumps to $1 million sooner or later.
23 Robin Tunney
The CBS drama wrapped up in 2015, but one of the actresses on The Mentalist is worthy of being on this list. The show lasted for seven seasons, and while it is no longer on air, the series had an incredible cast that earned themselves fat paycheques. Though Simon Baker was the highest paid actor on the show because he also served as producer, two steps behind him was Robin Tunney, who by the end of the series was reeling in $200,000 for her hard work.
22 Elisabeth Moss
Who does not love some Margaret Atwood? Last year Atwood fans rejoiced when they found out that the novel The Handmaid's Tale would turn into a series. The show has recently been renewed for a third season, and fans of the Hulu original series are thrilled, as the series has left viewers on their toes. Which actress has helped in making the show as popular and well-reputed as it is? Elisabeth Moss. With her incredible acting abilities, this show perfectly shows off what she is made of, and it has been revealed that she earns $200,000 per episode.
21 Viola Davis
Shonda Rhimes is a brilliant producer and an all-time favourite, and as this list has proven, she is very generous with her actresses that prove themselves. Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating on HTGAWM, a character that teaches a class on defence law, but Davis does a flawless job at being charismatic while keeping serious but also sassy ― that is a triple whammy. And with that, Davis goes home with a $250,000 pay per episode of the drama.
20 Millie Bobby Brown
It is not only adult actresses that row in the fat paycheques, but the younger ones too. There is something about child stars that is so appealing because of their brilliance at the profession at a young age. We all know the show Stranger Things is strange, as the title speaks for itself, but without Millie Bobby Brown, the show would not be what it is supposed to stand for. Want to know what a huge bump in a salary is? Brown started off with a $30,000 salary per episode to $350,000!
19 Winona Ryder
The world instantly became obsessed with the Netflix original series Stranger Things. While some found it utterly strange, some were fond about the buffed-up series; let us just say that we do not know why Netflix had to continuously ask us if we are still watching. Most of us fell in love with the series, that will have a third season in 2019, because of the one and only Winona Ryder. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryder racks in $350,000 per episode ― there's nothing strange about that.
18 Zooey Deschanel
She may be the main character in the American sitcom New Girl, but she is certainly no new girl in the acting world. The Hollywood A-lister with hypnotizing blue eyes and dark black hair won our hearts just with her drop-dead looks, but Zooey Deschanel is truly a formidable actress. Deschanel brings in $7 million, as she is the kind of actress that makes you want to see more and more of her. Hence why her role on the comedy show has lasted as long as it has and also put her on our list.
17 Julia Louis-Dreyfus
We fell in love with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld when she flaunted her one-of-a-kind Elaine dance moves; watching Seinfeld was like a breath of fresh air because of Julia, the only woman in a group of awkward and hilarious men. However, she was not paid the same kind of money back in the '90s, but now with her continued success on television she managed to dance on this list. The Seinfeld alum has since been on HBO's Veep, earning her $7.5 million.
16 Emily Deschanel
Another woman who has been killing it on the air for years and showing the world what girl power really is is actress Emily Deschanel. Might we say, the Deschanel sisters really have got it going on and Emily is not afraid to shake up our bones on Bones, which is her long-running role on the hit American drama series. Both sisters do not have a fear of flying or taking chances, but with 12 seasons on the show, Emily just beat her sister, earning $7.5 million.
15 Emilia Clarke
It is not a rich man's world after all, and these women are taking over TV ― even Game of Thrones. Although House Stark coined the famous motto "winter is coming," actresses like Emilia Clarke only need to mutter 3 words to get a whooping $2.6 million per episode; just in case math is not your forte, that is $866,666 per word. This has been Clarke's fat paycheque for the last two seasons of the show only ― and yes, even she barely speaks ― cha-ching!
14 Lena Headey
Of course, we are not belittling the fact that just a few words makes actresses like Emilia Clarke, the same amount of money per episode as her colleagues. We want to point out the fairness of Game of Thrones when it comes to salaries, while informing you that, Lena Headey, also made the same $2.6 million per episode for only the last two seasons. As Cersei Lannister, she may have spoken more words than fellow actress Clarke, but in GoT, it is all about performance. Everything on the show is impactful and not surprisingly earns them thousands of Benjamins.
13 Patricia Heaton
Imagine being married to Ray Romano and living a life always surrounded by his parents and brother? Well for many seasons, actress Patricia Heaton did, and the Everybody Loves Raymond alum is finally getting all the glory and the fat paycheque that she is worthy of. The alum brought us many laughs while on Everybody Loves Raymond, but since then, she has been making a living as a middle-aged and middle-class American mom, Frankie Heck, on the sitcom The Middle. She is not so middle-class in real life though with her yearly $8.5 million earnings.
12 Pauly Perrette
If ever you're thinking of being a forensic scientist, then do so, but play the role of one on a television show to earn the big bucks!
What we love about most A-list women on this list is that their crazy salaries are all because of their hard and deserving work and it is inspiring ― it is not an easy task to play the role of a forensic scientist for 14 years. Pauly Perrette earns a six-figure salary of $9.5 million from playing Abby Sciuto on NCIS.
11 Robin Wright
Netflix is doing a tremendous job with their unique series, making many low-key actresses into huge stars. And luckily for Robin Wright, she has Netflix to thank for giving her a boost in her paycheque as well. Though the actress has appeared on the big screen in films like Wonder Woman and Justice League, it is the Netflix original series House of Cards that made her the star she is today. Not that she already wasn’t, but being a part of the series is what made her one of the top female earners on TV with a $9 million salary. Her house is definitely not for sale!
10 Priyanka Chopra
With Joe Jonas on her arms, what else could she ask for? Priyanka Chopra recently got engaged to the love of her life, Joe Jonas, but she has way more going for her. The humble and beloved Bollywood actress has garnered major success, and with her impeccable acting skills, we are not surprised. Earning a spot on our list, the star who starred in the television drama Quantico, earned a major income of $10 million. You go girl!
9 Julianna Margulies
If any woman wants to truly empower themselves, taking a role on hit television show is truly key. Why? Because with time and age, the actresses get what they merit. Staying dedicated to one show could earn an actress way more than a movie role ― for all the females out there considering acting, try your faith on a television show. And that is exactly what Emmy winner Julianna Margulies did as Alicia Florrick on the American drama series The Good Wife. The show ended in 2016 but left her with a hefty paycheque of $10.5 million.
8 Kerry Washington
You do not have to love drama to love the girl boss herself, Kerry Washington. Honestly, her acting on Scandal is so flawless that the situations sometimes seem so legit. There are still fewer star roles for women in television, but Washington owns this show, and nobody can stop her. Shonda Rhimes certainly made the right choice when she picked Kerry Washington to be the center of all the drama as Olivia Pope. And with that being said, Washington makes the big bucks evidently ― $11 million to be precise.
7 Stana Katic
This Canadian-American actress could certainly buy herself a castle (pun intended) with her money from her role on Castle! It was a fiasco when ABC decided to dismiss Stana Katic, to then dismiss the series altogether in 2016. However, despite her exit from the show, before having departed, she was on the show from 2009-2015, and that made her a lot of moolah. Heading into the final season of the show, before being "dismissed," she negotiated a raise that earned her $12 million.
6 Julie Bowen
We really would not mind having Julie Bowen as a mother; her sarcastic sense of humour on Modern Family alongside her odd and unique family is certainly what made her stand out. However, what also makes her stand out amongst her female actress colleagues is her fat yearly paycheque. Listening to her talk on the Modern Family couch as Claire, has certainly made our afternoons more bearable too. And with such an open and honest character to portray, Bowen deserves her $12 million
5 Mariska Hargitay
Not going to lie, some of us have forgotten that this show exists, but the stars on the show have their viewers to thank for making it last so long. And in the TV world, a long-lasting show means a bump in the stars' income surely. Mariska Hargitay plays Lt. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU who has made a career investigating their cases. It is incredibly difficult to play such a role, but Hargitay, who nails it, and is the central figure on the show's promotional photos, has racked up quite the salary. How much you ask? $12.5 million.
4 Mindy Kaling
It is impossible to not love the big-hearted Mindy Kaling ― if it were up to us, we would make an application to be her best friend. We love how powerful Kaling is, and how much she has spread girl power awareness around the world with her success. Kaling, in case you are clueless, was the creator of her own show The Mindy Project, which she produced and starred in as well. She has other projects that have boosted her success, like a lucrative book and awesome film roles, but her $13 million income was all because of her ever-so-popular series.
3 Ellen Pompeo
Now that McDreamy is gone, Grey's Anatomy's all-time star is Meredith Grey ― yes, we are talking about the marvellous Ellen Pompeo. Pompeo, who is another one of Rhimes' stars, has recently got a pay bump that she fought hard for, now reeling in $20 million a year. This bump usurps the actress from the other popular TV drama that they are neck and neck with, Game of Thrones. Pompeo has expressed how very proud she is of herself and her long-lasting career on a single show, stating "I’ve been this character [Meredith Grey] for 14 years. But the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that’s a skill.”
2 Kaley Cuoco
Knock on door: "Penny, Penny, Penny!" Knocking on Penny's door is not only Sheldon, but a huge lottery. The Big Bang Theory star has one of the highest salaries as a woman on television, only trailing behind one competitor that is to be revealed. Though Kaley Cuoco does a lot more than sing "Soft Kitty," she is still not paid as much as her male colleagues on one of the world's favourite comedy sitcoms. However, with a $26 million salary, she earns a lot more than pennies for her fantastic work.
1 Sofia Vergara
She is easy on the eyes and her unique accent drives men wild ― can you guess who is at the top of our list of the world's highest paid actress? It is the Colombiana herself, one of the stars of Modern Family, Sofia Vergara. For the sixth year in a row, the high-energy and charismatic actress is the world's highest-paid TV actress and is banking $41.5 million. She not only out-earns her Modern Family colleagues, but also the star of The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons. Her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the show has made her knock out all her competition out of the park.