Sofia Vergara Tops List of Highest-Paid Actresses on TV

by | September 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Law Order SVU, Mike & Molly, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, TV News

TV's highest-paid actresses: Sofia Vergara (top left), Mariska Hargitay (top right), Melissa McCarthy (bottom left) and Kaley Cuoco (Photos: Getty Images)

“Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara is No. 1 for the second consecutive year on Forbes’ list of TV’s highest-paid actresses.

Vergara, 41, earned the top spot by virtue of her salary for “Modern Family,” but also because she has emerged as a merchandising and licensing powerhouse and commercial spokeswoman, thanks at least in part to her appeal in both the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking worlds.

The Forbes list — which you can see here — says Vergara earned an estimated $30 million in the past year from all of her various business dealings. The magazine said that total puts Vergara on top “far and away” over the others on the list.

Not that they’re too shabby: The other top earners on the list include No. 2 Mariska Hargitay of NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU,” who earned $14 million last year, Forbes said, from her “L&O” salary plus residual payments from the show’s repeat runs in syndication.

Also high on the list: Two female stars of CBS sitcoms — Kaley Cuoco of top-rated “The Big Bang Theory,” who tied with Hargitay for the No. 2 spot; and No. 3 Melissa McCarthy of “Mike & Molly,” who earned an estimated $10 million from the sitcom and several movies. In fact, McCarthy moved up 14 rungs from the previous year, thanks to her burgeoning movie career, which took off after her Academy Award nomination for “Bridesmaids.”

Tina Fey also earned $10 million to rank high on the list. The list, of course, was limited to actresses — as opposed to other types of TV personalities such as news personalities and talk show hosts (Matt Lauer and Katie Couric, for example), TV judges (such as Judge Judy Sheindlin, who is said to be TV’s top-earning personality of all) and others such as Oprah Winfrey — who appears on TV and also co-owns her own TV network.

The list does include some reality-TV stars, though our own opinion is that they aren’t really actresses (even if their “reality” shows are partially scripted). Forbes, cheekily, offered this “explanation” for including some reality stars: “We consider reality TV acting — don’t you?” Forbes asked. Well, maybe.

Among the reality stars who made the list: Bravo’s Bethenny Frankel (now a talk-show host) and the Kardashian family (who are listed as one entity on the list).

Also on the list: Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Cobie Smulders and Alyson Hannigan of “How I Met Your Mother,” Amy Poehler, Julianna Margulies, Lena Dunham and Zooey Deschanel.