If you thought movie stars made bank, just wait until you see how much these TV actors earn on an episode-by-episode basis.
Following the announcement that Meryl Streep is raking in a whopping $825,000 per episode to star in Netflix's new show The Nix, based on Nathan Hill's novel of the same name, we did some digging to see just how that salary stacks up against her fellow TV actors, many of whom, like her, are venturing onto the small screen after years of starring in box office flicks.
Before the "golden age of television," actors traditionally used TV shows as a jumping off point for their career, hoping to gain a fandom and attention from a show in order to later break out onto the big screen. But networks are now looking to recognizable talent to cast in their projects, rather than newcomers. "Viewership is shrinking on a per-show basis, so what [these networks] are doing is trying to break through the crowd with big-star and big-ticket names," said Henry Schafer, Executive VP at brand specialist Q Scores, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
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Plus, according to Variety, "not too long ago, pay for top-level talent on broadcast or basic cable would often max out at $125,000," but now that TV roles have become more and more desirable, not to mention premium and streaming services having bigger budgets, "there’s no line anymore between television and film, and anyone who says they won’t do TV, they're crazy," according to a talent agent who talked to the publication.
There are of couse television stars who have always earned top dollar in their field, like Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, and Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory, each of whom take in an estimated $1 million per episode. Plus, plenty of the Game of Thrones actors top the highest paid list, with Peter Dinklage and Lena Heady making $500,000 per gory, incestuous, dragon-filled episode of the fan-favorite show.
Scroll down to see some of the highest paid stars on TV today (with data from Variety), many of whom you'll recognize, not just from your favorite television programs, but from your favorite movies as well.