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Ever wonder who the top paid TV stars are, and where your favorite stars rank? Variety talked to actors, executives, agents, managers, attorneys, and more connected to the entertainment industry about how much stars are making these days.

It should come as no shock to learn that there’s a huge pay gap between white actors and black actors.

Star salaries range from $1 million an episode for the main players of CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” to $20,000 per episode for Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray, the actors who play the Lyon kids on Fox’s “Empire.” The actors who play their parents, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, earn $175,000 per episode.

02/05/2016 - Trai Byers, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Bryshere Y. Gray, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday, Danny Strong - 47th NAACP Image Awards - Press Room - Pasadena Civic Auditorium - Pasadena, CA, USA - Keywords: "Empire", Vertical, Red Carpet Event, People, Person, Award, Portrait, Photography, Arts Culture and Entertainment, Attending, Celebrities, Celebrity, Award, Topix, Bestof, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, civil rights organization, ethnic minorities, City Of Los Angeles, California Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Kazuki Hirata / / - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

“black-ish” star Emmy-winner Anthony Anderson gets $100,000 an episode, while his Emmy-winning co-star Tracee Ellis Ross earns $80,000 per episode. Viola Davis, the Emmy Award-winning star of “How to Get Away with Murder,” and Kerry Washington, the Emmy-nominated star of “Scandal,” both earn $250,000 per episode.

02/06/2015 - Anthony Anderson, Marcus Scribner, Yara Shahidi, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marsai Martin, Miles Brown - 46th NAACP Image Awards Presented by TV One - Press Room - Pasadena Civic Center - Pasadena, CA, USA - Keywords: cast of blackish Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Aaron J. Thornton / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes

Here’s a look at the biggest salaries:

$1,000,000 — Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

$1,000,000 — Kaley Cuoco, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

$1,000,000 — Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

$750,000 — Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix)

$750,000 — Alexis Bledel, “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix)

$525,000 — Mark Harmon, “NCIS” (CBS)

$500,000 — Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

$500,000 — Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

$500,000 — Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

$500,000 — Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

$500,000 — Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

$500,000 — Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

$450,000 — Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)

$450,000 — Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order” (NBC)

$400,000 – Dwayne Johnson, “Ballers” (HBO)

$350,000 — Drew Barrymore, “Santa Clarita Diet” (Netflix)


Black Actresses You Need To Know
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(Photo Source: PR Photos/AP)

5 thoughts on “Hollywood Salaries Reveal Huge Pay Gap Between White and Minority TV Actors

  1. Racional on said:

    Even though much of the conflict has to do with negotiations and who is doing the negotiating. Yes there is this vast discrepancy of epic proportions but this is what you get when we’re talking about whose families look like the people who run the studios. IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR!!!

  2. You can not base the differences on race in this instance. TV salaries are pretty much a combination of ratings, popularity and length of time on air. The Big Bang stars salaries was basically similar to that of the Blackish stars for the first 4 years of the show despite having huge ratings. After their original contracts expired, the top 3 stars were able to leverage the popularity of the show for a big increase.

  3. Cynthia Riddle on said:

    Not shocked…because being black, no matter what you do for a living, that alone makes you “less” than your white couterparts. It’s too bad, but not shocked at all.

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