Hollywood deep pockets: Who has them? While TV is a source of entertainment for viewers and critics alike, it also can provide a substantial livelihood for some of the actors involved in the medium. Some of the longest-running and most popular TV series also have significant price tags attached to them, especially where the talent is concerned. Here are some of TV’s highest-paid actors and actresses for 2014.
At the top of the earners’ list among TV actresses, Sofia Vergara captures the crown for the third consecutive year with $37 million in earnings. The Modern Family star, 42, continues her success due to her business savvy. Like the rest of her cast members, the Colombian-born star earns a reported $325,000 per episode for the ABC sitcom, but the majority of her earnings come from her lucrative endorsements and licensing deals. The sultry actress has deals in place with Diet Pepsi, AT&T, and Synthroid among many others. The endorsement deal with the makers of Synthroid resulted from her successful battle against thyroid cancer in 2000, from which she has made a complete recovery and remained cancer-free.
At the top of the heap among TV actors, Ashton Kutcher has also captured the crown for the third consecutive year with $26 million in earnings. The Two and a Half Men star, 36, not only collects a hefty salary from the sitcom, which is scheduled to end after the upcoming season, he also has a number of endorsement deals to his name and has crafted an impressive reputation as a tech investor. Moreover, he has inked a lucrative multi-year contract with tablet-maker Lenovo as a product engineer for a reported $3 million.
Other Hollywood deep pockets included Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, who captured the number two spot among TV’s highest-paid actresses for 2014, with an estimated total of $13 million in earnings. The drama series, which was renewed for a 16th season, saw a double-digit increase in viewership last season, due in large part to Hargitay’s star power. She also takes home a significant chunk of change from extensive syndication of the show.
Other Hollywood deep pockets among TV’s highest-paid actors for 2014 included former How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) star Neil Patrick Harris. The Tony Award-winning actor followed up the successful run of his sitcom with a tour-de-force performance in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The success of How I Met Your Mother helped the actor pull in an estimated $18 million in earnings this year, making him the third highest-paid TV actor in Hollywood for 2014. That is a huge leap from the $3 million in earnings Harris accumulated back in 2012. Moreover, the versatile actor and showman also signed an endorsement deal with American Airlines and has a book coming out later this year. Even though HIMYM ended, he will continue to reap earnings from the show’s syndication royalties.
Among the other highest-paid TV actresses for 2014, Kaley Cuoco took home an estimated $11 million in earnings, which landed her the number three spot on this year’s list. Thanks to the success of her colossal hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory has served as a huge boost for Cuoco’s career. She also has a thriving movie career as well as a lucrative line of endorsement deals with companies like Priceline and Toyota. With a renegotiated contract for the eighth season of her hit CBS series, which netted her a reported $1 million an episode, chances are Cuoco will be back on the list next year.
Among the other highest-paid TV actors for 2014, Kevin Spacey made a notable debut on this year’s list and captured the number four spot among earners. The House of Cards star was crowned as the first Internet star on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list earlier this year and pulled in $16 million in earnings. His well-deserved ranking among earners is due to his lucrative contract with Netflix, endorsement deals, and his steady film work in such movies as Horrible Bosses 2. With a renegotiated contract for the third season of his hit streaming series, chances are Spacey will be back on the list next year.
TV is big business and can provide a substantial livelihood for some of the actors involved in the medium. Hollywood deep pockets do exist and can produce surprising earning potential. Other newcomers to the 2014 list of TV’s highest-paid actors and actresses included Jon Hamm, who captured the number nine spot among top-earning actors and pulled in $10 million for this year. In addition to his hefty Mad Men paycheck, he also has endorsement deals with brands like American Airlines and Mercedes. Another 2014 newcomer at number nine among TV’s highest-paid actresses with $5 million in earnings is Clare Danes, thanks to her role as Carrie Mathison on the hit Showtime series, Homeland. In addition to her show royalties, Danes also garnered a ton of money from her endorsement deal with Audi.
By Leigh Haugh