Forbes’ recently released list of top-paid movie actresses reflected Kristen Stewart’s secure foothold in modern pop culture. Now the business magazine has unveiled the list of TV actresses who earned the most between May 2011 and May 2012, and seems if you follow the money in TV land, it leads straight to funny gals and reality stars, with some housewives peppered in here and there.
Modern Family star Sofia Vergara tops the list with $19 million. Anyone who’s seen the Colombia native’s ubiquitous Kmart or Cover Girl ads knows that she’s also doing pretty well for herself with all those endorsement deals.
All four stars of Desperate Housewives, which concluded its series on ABC this May, made the list: Eva Longoria, followed by Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, and Marcia Cross.
Reality TV has become even more of a major money-maker over the past year. With a wedding special watched by over 10 million people and continuing ratings success for Keeping Up with the Kardashians following the end of her 72-day-long marriage, reality star Kim Kardashian settled in at No. 2 on the list. Not far behind is her sister, Khloe. Last year they didn’t even make the top 10. Also new to the list this year is Bravo favorite and Skinny Girl entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel.
There are some familiar faces among this group, like Marg Helgenberger, whose 12-year-long run on CSI has kept her on the list for many years. Then there are rising stars like Zooey Deschanel, who has become a new comedy force to be reckoned with on Fox’s New Girl.
Last year’s list was topped with a tie between Eva Longoria and Tina Fey. The actresses come in third and fifth, respectively, this year. Check out the entire list below:
1. Sofia Vergara, $19 million
2. Kim Kardashian, $18 million
3. Eva Longoria, $15 million
4. Bethenny Frankel, $12 million
5. Khloe Kardashian Odom, $11 million
5. Tina Fey, $11 million
7. Mariska Hargitay, $10 million
8. Zooey Deschanel, $9 million
8. Felicity Huffman, $9 million
8. Ellen Pompeo, $9 million
11. Kate Walsh, $8 million
11. Teri Hatcher, $8 million
11. Marcia Cross, $8 million
11. Kaley Cuoco, $8 million
15. Alyson Hannigan, $7 million
15. Marg Helgenberger, $7 million
17. Melissa McCarthy, $6 million
17. Julianna Margulies, $6 million
17 . Kyra Sedgwick, $6 million
20. Courteney Cox, $5 million
Some of these stars were helped by their cross-over to the big screen, like How I Met Your Mother’s Alyson Hannigan with her $3 million-earning turn in the latest American Pie franchise installment. Newly-crowned comedy queen Melissa McCarthy’s Bridesmaids certainly added some cash to her take from CBS series Mike and Molly. (Her Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig – who also has been a TV staple with Saturday Night Live – settled in at spot No. 9 on the movie actresses list, so that raises the question of how Forbes decides which stars belong on which list).
What’s glaringly but unsurprisingly absent from this list? Stars of sci-fi and fantasy shows. Looks like defending Storybrooke or even saving multiple universes doesn’t quite translate into list-topping, real-world greenbacks, at least not today.