Fey, Longoria top U.S. high-paid TV actress list

It pays to be a desperate housewife, at least on TV, or a crime investigator or just Tina Fey.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 29 Sep 2011, 12:34 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:56 AM

Fey, the star and creator of NBC comedy “30 Rock,” shares the distinction of being the highest paid woman on television with “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria. Each earned $13 million in the 12 months ending in May 2011, according to a new list from financial news website Forbes.com

Close behind at No. 3 was another “Desperate Housewives” actress, Marcia Cross, who earned $10 million and landed in a three-way tie with Emmy-winning actress Mariska Hargitay of cop drama “Law & Order: SVU” and Marg Helgenberger on crime procedure show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Not too far behind were other key actresses in “Desperate Housewives,” a comedy about women living in a typical U.S. suburb where audiences learn all sorts of secrets hidden in their closets. Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman shared No. 6 with $9 million each in earnings, according to Forbes.com.

While it’s hard to disparage earning that much money in one year, the female stars of TV make less than half what their counterparts in films bring home. This past July, Forbes.com said Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker were the top-paid female movie stars, earning $30 million a year, each.

“Our top three TV women earned a total $36 million compared to the $88 million earned by the top three movie stars. But there are advantages to working in TV,” said Forbes staff writer Dorothy Pomerantz.

“The parts tend to be better, especially for women. Actresses who are working moms can usually stay in L.A. or New York and see their kids and there’s a steady pay check.”

Fey climbed from her spot at No. 7 on last year’s list, when it was estimated that she earned $7.5 million. Longoria also climbed from her spot at No. 4 on Forbes.com’s similar list one year ago, having earned $12 million.

And maybe it is a sign of the gloomy economic times that this year’s No. 1 is nowhere near last year’s top earning female, Ellen DeGeneres, who took in $55 million at a time she was judging No. 1-rated show, singing contest “American Idol.”

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