Forbes’ top-paid television actresses list proves ABC’s Housewives aren’t desperate for money.
Whoever called the number 13 unlucky didn’t bookend it with a dollar sign and six zeros. Tina Fey and Eva Longoria top Forbes’ list of the highest-paid television actresses on Tuesday, with each raking in $13 million for their TV gigs between May 2010 and May 2011.
Fey, star as well as head writer and producer of 30 Rock, has made bank on her show that was inspired by her days as SNL head writer. Though never a ratings smash, its fiercely loyal fans and syndication deal have turned it into a profitable cultural touchstone for the yuppie-hipster crowd. The show is also something of a family affair — Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond, composed the show’s zippy theme song.
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Tied for the top spot is Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria, who supplements her healthy paycheck with lucrative endorsement deals with L’Oreal and LG. This pushed her ahead of her Housewives costars Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman, who also made the list.
Forbes came up with their earnings estimates (which are gross earnings and don’t account for things like agent and manager fees) by talking to lawyers, producers and agents in the know to find out what each star made per episode, from any syndication deals and from endorsements.
To put these numbers in perspective, the top three women in movies earned nearly as much ($88 million) as the top 10 TV actresses combined ($94 million).
The top five on TV:
1. Tina Fey (30 Rock): $13 million
2. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives): $13 million
3. Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives): $10 million
4. Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU): $10 million
5. Marg Helgenberger (CSI): $10 million