Your favorite television shows wouldn’t be the same without the actors and actresses who brilliantly bring their characters to life. These talented professionals work hard to tell a captivating story — and many earn massive paychecks for their efforts.
This isn’t surprising, as top actors and actresses draw in viewers. Plus, the last thing a network wants is to lose a star of a hit show due to a pay discrepancy.
Of course, larger-than-life paydays aren’t the only benefit of being a television star. Those who deliver critically acclaimed performances are often recognized with career-enhancing awards.
Television’s biggest night out, the 74th Emmy Awards falls on Sept. 12, 2022. In honor of the kickoff of Emmy season, here’s a look at some of the highest-paid streaming and cable TV stars right now.
“Flight Attendant” star Kaley Cuoco reprised her role as Cassie Bowden during the show’s second season. It’s currently unknown if the show will be renewed for a third season.
Cuoco’s “Flight Attendant” earnings haven’t been revealed, but it’s likely quite impressive. She previously played Penny on long-running sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” where her salary peaked at $1 million per episode.
While not likely, it’s possible Cuoco’s “Flight Attendant” salary is on par with her pay from “The Big Bang Theory.” Either way, her star power likely allows her to continue demanding seriously hefty paychecks.
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Sterling K. Brown
Starring as Randall Pearson on “This Is Us” has made Sterling K. Brown a household name — and a seriously well-paid one. He earned $250,000 per episode for his work on the NBC drama, according to Variety.
Along with his core castmates, Brown scored a $2 million cash bonus for the show’s sixth and final season, according to Deadline.
An Emmy favorite, he’s been nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series five times for his work on “This Is Us” — with one win in 2017.
Iconic actor Ted Danson reprised his role as Neil Bremer for season two of “Mr. Mayor.” He earned $400,000 per episode for his work on the sitcom, according to Variety, but the NBC series was cancelled in May 2022.
Previously, he earned an estimated $225,000 per episode for his starring role on “The Good Place,” according to Variety, which ended in 2020. Before that, he earned more than $200,000 per episode for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” according to a 2013 Deadline report.
Starring as June Osborne on “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been a notably lucrative role for Elizabeth Moss. She earns $1 million per episode for her work on the drama series, according to Variety.
She’s won an Emmy for her work on the series — outstanding lead actress in a drama series — in 2017. Based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, the Hulu series returns for its fifth season on September 14.
In 2022, Moss also starred as Kirby Mazrachi in the Apple+ series “Shining Girls.” She earned $1.1 million per episode, according to Variety.
He left “Saturday Night Live” in May 2022, but Pete Davidson’s career has only just begun. In April 2022, Peacock picked up “Bupkis,” a live-action comedy written, starring and executive produced by him, according to Dateline.
The comedian will earn $500,000 per episode, according to Variety. Lorne Michaels will also serve as an executive producer.
Based on the best-selling novel of the same title, Brie Larson will star in and executive produce the Apple+ drama series, “Lessons in Chemistry.” The Oscar winner will earn $750,000 per episode for her work as Elizabeth Zott, according to Variety.
Production has begun on the series, which is expected to premiere in 2023.
He got his big break on “Saturday Night Live,” and Jason Sudeikis has returned to television as the title character on “Ted Lasso.” The wildly popular Apple TV+ show will return for a third season, but a release date has not been publicized.
Sudeikis earns $1 million per episode, according to Variety. However, it’s likely his pay has increased substantially, due to the overwhelming success of the show.
Playing Dr. Samuel Finnix in the Hulu miniseries “Dopesick” earned Michael Keaton two Emmy nominations. He also scored a massive $1 million per episode payday, according to Variety.
Next up, he’ll be returning to the silver screen to star in the upcoming films “Morbius” and “The Flash.”
In the HBO Max miniseries “Love and Death,” Elizabeth Olsen plays accused serial killer Candy Montgomery. Set to debut in 2023, she earned $875,000 per episode, according to Variety.
While most of her career has been spent in film, Olsen has previously starred in the television series “WandaVision” and “Sorry for Your Loss.”
Busy actor Matthew Rhys captivated audiences with his work as the title character in “Perry Mason.” In 2021, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on the drama, which has a second season coming soon, according to the HBO.
His “Perry Mason” salary is believed to be around $100,000 per episode. He won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series in 2018 for his portrayal of Philip Jennings on the FX series “The Americans.”
The latest project for Natasha Lyonne, she’ll star in the upcoming Peacock mystery drama series “Poker Face.” Not much has been revealed about the drama — including its characters — but she’ll earn $500,000 per episode, according to Variety.
Lyonne also stars as Nadia Vulvokov in the Netflix series “Russian Doll.” It’s currently unknown whether the show will return for a third season.
His first major foray into television, Harrison Ford will star in the upcoming “Yellowstone” prequel “1923.” The series will stream on Paramount+, but not much else is known about his character.
In true movie star fashion, Ford will earn $1 million per episode, according to Variety. Going all in on television, he’s also slated to star as Dr. Phil Rhodes in the new Apple+ series “Shrinking.”
He’s best known for his work as Walter White on the wildly popular show “Breaking Bad,” but currently, Bryan Cranston is Michael Desiato on the Showtime series “Your Honor.” He received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on the show.
Cranston earns $750,000 per episode for his work on “Your Honor,” according to Variety. Season two of the series will debut this fall.
Comedian Ray Romano wowed fans yet again with his portrayal of Herbert in “Made for Love.” The HBO series was renewed for a second season in June 2021.
His “Made for Love” salary hasn’t been publicly revealed, but Romano likely doesn’t come cheap. In 2003, he made headlines for negotiating a $50 million payday for the eighth season of his iconic sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” according to E! Online. While he’s almost definitely not earning anything near that number, he has the star power to command a hefty paycheck.
Coming soon to Apple TV+, Rose Byrne will star as Sylvia in “Platonic.” She’ll earn $750,000 per episode for her work on the comedy series, according to Variety.
A busy actress, she also stars as Sheila Rubin in the Apple TV+ dramedy “Physical.” The series has been renewed for a third season.
In the ’80s and ’90s, fans adored Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris — i.e., Aunt Jackie — on “Roseanne,” so it’s no surprise she continues to charm in her reprised role on “The Conners,” which you can also stream on Hulu. The show’s fifth season premiers on September 21.
Metcalf earns $400,000 per episode for her work on “The Conners,” according to Variety. She previously scored three Emmy wins from five nominations for her work as Jackie on “Roseanne.”
His first major TV gig, Sylvester Stallone will star as mobster Dwight ‘The General’ Manfredi in “Tulsa King.” The Paramount+ series is slated to debut in November.
A lucrative gig, he scored a $1 million per episode payday for the drama, according to Variety. Next up, he’ll appear in the 2023 films “The Expendables 4” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
Since 2018, Kevin Costner has been starring as John Dutton on “Yellowstone” — his first big television role. A smash success, the show will return for its fifth season on November 13.
A major payday, he earns $1.3 million per episode, according to Variety. Next for the beloved A-lister is a starring role in the upcoming film “Horizon.”
In 2022, Anne Hathaway starred as Rebekah Neumann in the Apple TV+ miniseries “WeCrashed.” She earned $750,000 per episode for her work on the drama, according to Variety.
Next up, she’ll star in the film “Armageddon Time,” scheduled for release on Nov. 11, 2022. She also has several other films in the works, including “She Came to Me,” “Mothers’ Instinct” and “Eileen.”
Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star as Jake in the Onyx Collective on Hulu limited series, “The Plot.” He’ll earn $1.3 million per episode, according to Variety.
No stranger to television, he’s had several starring roles on series like “Ramy,” “True Detective” and “House of Cards.” Next up, catch him in the films “Leave the World Behind,” “Blade” and “Wildwood.”
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