Highest-Paid TV Actors: Why Emmy Awards Don’t Always Equal Big Paycheck
In honor of it being Emmy Awards week, here is a look at the popular kids at the sitcom table: Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. Although the latter did not score a nomination for best comedy this year, nor was Jim Parsons nominated for outstanding actor in a comedy—an honor he’s taken home four times—some interesting questions still linger. Remember the commentary on these shows over the last couple years? Many people thought their nominations and wins had grown tiresome. Modern Family in particular, which is again nominated for best comedy this year, seems to always steal the show, having some people dub the Emmy Awards repetitive and predictable.
It isn’t that Modern Family isn’t an excellent show but the fact that it has now been nominated 67 times and has 21 wins that appears to bother critics. Oddly enough, it is only Jim Parson’s record-breaking four year Emmy win for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series that makes The Big Bang Theory seem overly awarded. In reality, it hasn’t been. The show has only won seven Emmy awards total and has been nominated 39 times. And let’s face it: Sheldon Cooper is a phenomenal character.
That is where things get interesting though. By now you probably know that both shows feature some of the highest-paid actors in television, dominating both 2015 Forbes lists. This year, Jim Parsons is again the highest-paid actor in television with $29 million thanks to his hefty contract, stints on Broadway and a deal with Intel. That’s perhaps unsurprising given his accolades.
Here is the award-income discrepancy: Despite how many Emmy Awards The Big Bang Theory has won, all of its actors are in the top five. Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard came in number two with $27 million; and both Simon Helberg (Wolowitz) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj) tied with Mark Hammon of NCIS for number three with $20 million.
While The Big Bang Theory actors dominate the top three, award-powerhouse Modern Family doesn’t crack the top ten. Ty Burrell was the highest-paid actor of the show with $11.5 million, Tyler Jesse Ferguson at 12 with $11 million, and Ed O’Neill and Eric Stonestreet tied for 13 with $10.5 million.
Of course, there was more parity between awards and paycheck on the actress list. The highest-paid actress for years has been Sophia Vergara from Modern Family, but that is due in large part to her blue chip endorsements, modeling and film acting. This year, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Penny from The Big Bang Theory) finally tied her with $28.5 million. Meanwhile Julie Bowen of Modern Family came in at three with $12 million.
Does this make sense to you? Or did a certain show get a little nutty with their record-breaking contracts?