Here’s a List of the Highest-Paid Actors on Television Right Now

Here's a List of the Highest-Paid Actors on Television Right Now

“The Big Bang Theory” stars Cuoco and Parsons will pull in $1 million per episode. (Photo: CBS)

You might have heard that the stars of CBS’ staggeringly successful ensemble comedy “The Big Bang Theory” recently lobbied for one hell of a raise. Clearly, it worked out—starting this fall, Emmy winner Jim Parsons, as well as Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco will bag $1 million per episode, making the trio the highest-paid actors on television right now, according to TV Guide Magazine‘s annual survey of stars’ salaries.

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Seeing who makes what on TV is an interesting part of the issue’s story, but perhaps even more so is the exploration of what it would take for a network to produce another “Big Bang”-size hit—one that commands seven-figure paydays for its leads, and consistently kills in ratings.

“It has to be a huge, broad, wildly profitable show that is showing no signs of slowing down,” a studio exec told the magazine, noting that simply reaching eight seasons is pretty rare for a sitcom today. “It also has to have a small, core cast that has been there from the beginning. The show can’t have 11 series regulars like ‘Modern Family.'”

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But the recipe for television success is changing fast, which led another studio executive to suggest that streaming TV services such as Netflix could be the next company to sign a $1 million paycheck for the star of one of its original series. Netflix is already almost halfway there—“House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey makes about half what Parsons, Galecki, and Cuoco are making now. 

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Below, check out a few stats from TV Guide Magazine’s 2014 salary roundup, then head over to the site to read all 40.

Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory

Salary: $1 million each per episode plus profit participation

Mark Harmon, NCIS

Salary: $525,000 per episode plus profit participation

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Salary: $500,000 per episode (includes producer fee)

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU

Salary: $400,000 per episode

Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy

Salary: $350,000 each per episode

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Salary: $190,000 per episode plus profit participation

Angie Harmon, Rizzoli & Isles

Salary: $185,000 per episode

Kate Walsh, Bad Judge

Salary: $175,000 per episode

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Salary: $150,000 per episode

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Salary: $150,000 per episode

Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project

Salary: $140,000 per episode (includes producer fee)

Will Arnett, The Millers

Salary: $125,000 per episode

Tea Leoni, Madam Secretary

Salary: $125,000 per episode

Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Salary: $125,000 per episode

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Salary: $100,000 per episode

Johnny Lee Miller, Elementary

Salary: $100,000 per episode

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex

Salary: $100,000 each per episode


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