The Highest-Earning Actress on TV Is…

She's also a comedian, spokesmodel, and the designer of a popular clothing line

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Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Sure, Angelina Jolie may be the highest-earning actress on the big screen — raking in $33 million in a year ending June 2013 — but that certainly doen’t mean you should feel sorry for her small-screen counterpart. Sofia Vergara, the Colombian-born star of ABC’s Modern Family, pulled in $30 million last year, easily placing her on the top spot for all television actresses, according to Forbes’ annual list.

Topping the TV list for the second straight year, Vergara also landed the number 12 slot on the magazine’s Celebrity 100. Not only does Vergara, 41, do well with her ABC paycheck, but the bilingual actress also lends her name to PepsiCo’s Diet Pepsi, Proctor & Gamble Co’s CoverGirl, State Farm Insurance, Synthroid thyroid medicine, Rooms To Go and more for lucrative endorsement deals. Vergara’s most lucrative deal, though, is with her own clothing and home goods line sold at Kmart.

The top 20 highest-earning TV actresses are:

1. Sofia Vergara, Modern Family, $30 million

2 (tie). Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, $11 million

2 (tie). Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory, $11 million

4 (tie). Kourtney Kardashian, Keeping up with the Kardashians, $10 million

4 (tie). Kim Kardashian, Keeping up with the Kardashians, $10 million

4 (tie). Khloe Kardashian, Keeping up with the Kardashians, $10 million

4 (tie). Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly, $10 million

4 (tie). Tina Fey, 30 Rock, $10 million

4 (tie). Bethany Frankel, various reality shows, $10 million

4 (tie). Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy, $10 million

11. Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother, $9 million

12. Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother, $8 million

13 (tie). Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation, $7 million

13 (tie). Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife, $7 million

15 (tie). Lena Dunham, GIRLS, $6 million

15 (tie). Zooey Deschanel, New Girl, $6 million

15 (tie). Courtney Cox, Cougar Town, $6 million

18. Whitney Cummings, Whitney, $5 million

19. Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project, $4 million

20. Kerry Washington, Scandal, $3 million

Hargitay, an Emmy and Golden Globe winner, shows that you don’t have to make cash on endorsements, with her sole paycheck coming from NBC. She has been a mainstay for the show, though, gracing the screen for a dozen of the show’s 14 seasons.

(MORE: Robert Downey Jr. is Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actor)

Tied for the second spot, Cuoco added to her Big Bang Theory checks—Forbes has those pegged at $300,000 per episode—with endorsement deals with Toyota and Priceline.

The seven-way tie for fourth shows a diversity of moneymaking endeavors for television actresses, from movie roles (McCarthy), more Kmart products (Kardashian sisters), a cocktail line (Frankel) and simply television (Pompeo).

Next year’s list likely won’t have any of the number-two through 20 actresses challenging Vergara (Fey and Frankel may fall completely out of the top-10 even, with their shows ending), but expect to see Vergara challenging for the top actress spot overall. There is nothing small-screen about her.

11 comments
W4JTP
W4JTP

@tdnewcomb No...um, site visit? Guess that's only for soccer/construction stories

andudu
andudu

@hamdhoonrashad she acts on a crapy 1, CO-produces an okay 1: I've hostd 2 series this season, exec-prodcd dozens, u see my name on a list?