Two of prime-time TV’s funniest ladies are also two of its richest.
Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara and The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting both pocketed $28.5 million last year, making them the highest earning TV actresses of last year, according to a new ranking by Forbes.
This is the fourth year in a row that Vergara, who plays Gloria on the ABC sitcom, has topped the list. Last year, Forbes estimated her per-episode salary on the show at $325,000, a number that might have changed in the past 12 months. But lucrative endorsement deals with companies like CoverGirl and Head & Shoulders have certainly supplemented that. And Vergara is also the founder of Latin World Entertainment.
For Cuoco-Sweeting, it’s the first time at the top of the list. Her reported $1 million per episode guarantee, along with her work with Priceline.com gave her the boost. Last year, she ranked third, behind Vergara and Mariska Hargitay (whose income fell to $11 million, according to Forbes, putting her in fifth place this year).
Both Vergara and Cuoco-Sweeting are likely to rank highly next year as well. Modern Family has been renewed for a seventh season and CBS has a deal in place to keep The Big Bang Theory on the air through at least the 2016-2017 season.
Modern Family seems a launching pad for well paid comediennes. Vergara’s costar Julie Bowen was third on the list in her first appearance, with earnings of $12 million, a mix of her salary from the show and an endorsement deal with Bridgestone. Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy” was fourth with $11.5 million.
Overall, Forbes said 15 TV actresses made more than $5 million – an impressive number, but one that still shows a pay gap in the medium.
While Jim Parsons, the highest paid TV actor, earned roughly the same amount as Vergara Cuoco-Sweeting last year, the cutoff point for the bottom of the list was $9.5 million – $4.5 million more than #15 Zooey Deschanel’s income last year.
There’s a much larger gap between what film and TV actresses make, though. Jennifer Lawrence, the top paid film actress made $52 million – just shy of double what Vergara and Cuoco-Sweeting took in.