The primetime television industry is dying. From the writer’s strike a few years passed to Tina Fey’s swipe at NBC at the Emmy’s, it’s something that has been much discussed in recent months. According to Forbes, some ladies are still managing to pull a profit from an industry that is losing money daily. Their top 10 highest earning actresses on primetime TV (calculated before taxes and other expenses) earned an estimated $116 million between June 1, 2008 and June 1, 2009. Unsurprisingly, Tyra Banks tops the list.
A combination of “America’s Next Top Model,” “The Tyra Show” and cameo appearances (like on “Gossip Girl”) earned Tyra her money on screen, but with her work behind the camera producing shows like “True Beauty” and the since cancelled “Stylista,” Tyra has managed to pull in $30 million in a year. Not too bad for someone who used to be the face of Victoria’s Secret, going as Forbes puts it, from “supermodel” to “super-personality.”
Second on the list, somewhat surprisingly, is the “Grey’s Anatomy” outspoken star Katherine Heigl. Her films, while a mix of critical hits and misses, always manage to bring the money, and even with the departure of T.R. Knight, in its sixth season “Grey’s” still brings in massive viewership. Katherine’s $18 million paycheck for the past year probably helped sway her to spending a little longer at Seattle Grace.
Rounding out the list are Eva Longoria- Parker ($9 million), Julia Louis-Dreyfuss ($8 million) and Tina Fey ($7 million), among others. But Forbes spent much of their time discussing the conundrum primetime television finds itself in.
"If you hit a homerun [on television] you will be rewarded," a longtime manager of top talent told the mag. "But you used to make great money for mediocrity, and those days are over."
So while these actresses are making plenty of money now, the lesson might be to start padding that TV paycheck with more films and endorsement deals to make sure the money keeps flowing in for years to come.
Does anyone one the Forbes list surprise you?