Kaley Cuoco, along with her Big Bang Theory co-stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg, took cuts in their salaries in 2017 to up the salaries of their co-stars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. The five original Big Bang stars are now making $900,000 an episode, which is still a hefty sum but not enough to make Cuoco No. 1 on Forbes‘ list of highest-paid TV actresses. In fact, she’s doesn’t come close to the top earner.
So, who topped the list? Read on to find out who’s making the biggest bucks, based on pre-tax earnings brought in between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018.
Guess who topped the list of 2018’s highest-paid TV actresses (hint: it wasn’t Kaley Cuoco)
10. Pauley Perrette ($8.5 million)This might be Perrette's last time on the list since her 15-year run on NCIS came to an unfortunate end in May. She implied that she left the show after "multiple physical assaults" and CBS confirmed the actress came to them "with a workplace concern" and "worked with her to find a resolution." Despite her early departure, she still made enough to earn a spot on the list; rightfully so.CBS
9. Claire Danes ($9 million)In a nice twist of events, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis earned the same amount of money when Homeland premiered in 2011: $250,000 per episode. But once Lewis left, that apparently left room for his salary to get transferred to Danes, as the actress now earns $500,000 an episode.Showtime
8. Kerry Washington ($11 million)The Scandal star supplemented her income with endorsements for Neutrogena and Movado.ABC
6. Melissa Rauch ($12 million)The Big Bang Theory co-star gets a lot of laughs for her role as Bernadette, and thanks to her castmates taking paycuts in order to free up more money for her and Mayim Bialik, she now banks an estimated $500,000 an episode, landing her on the list for the first time.CBS
6. Mayim Bialik ($12 million)In a show of unity and parity, Bialik — who, along with Rauch, became a regular cast member on Big Bang in 2010, three years after the series debuted — now gets half a mill per episode, as it should be. Mayim's Amy Farrah Fowler is everything.CBS
5. Julie Bowen ($12.5 million)The two-time Emmy winner earns nearly $500,000 an episode — the same as her Modern Family co-stars Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet.ABC
4. Mariska Hargitay ($13 million)The original cast member on the long-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — now in its 20th season! — not only negotiated an epic payday ($450,000 per episode) but she also gets a cut of the series' profits.NBC
3. Ellen Pompeo ($23.5 million)She's played Meredith Grey for 15 seasons and negotiated all kinds of extras on top of her salary including a hefty upfront fee, a cut of the series' backend cash, and a producer fee on Grey's Anatomy spinoff Station 19.ABC
2. Kaley Cuoco ($24.5 million)Cuoco was making $1 million an episode until she and her male co-stars took a pay cut to allow for female co-stars Bialik and Rauch to get raises. Now they earn $900,000, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it is something to applaud.CBS
1. Sofia Vergara ($42.5 million)For the seventh consecutive year, the half mill she gets from her Modern Family salary makes up about half of her annual earnings. It's her lucrative deals, endorsing everything from CoverGirl to coffeemakers to dandruff-fighting shampoos, that round out her earnings. Not only is she worth it, she's rolling in it.ABC