New Report Shows Significant Pay Gap Between White and Black TV Actors


“Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross (left); “The Big Bang Theory” stars Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco (right) (Flickr)

A new report shows a wide pay gap between white and Black and other non-white TV actors.

In a survey published in Variety Tuesday, Black and Latino television stars consistently rank in the lower half of incomes per episode.

One notable aspect is that many non-white actors have won critical praise for their roles. And yet, their earnings don’t reflect that acclaim.

For example, Tracee Ellis Ross became the first African-American actress to score an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Actress in 30 years. Her “black-ish” co-star Anthony Anderson has been nominated in the Best Comedy Actor category twice in a row.

Still, the actors make $80,000 and $100,000 for the hit ABC show. Anderson earns the highest between himself and Ross. But “Jane The Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez makes even less.

Although Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the show’s titular character, she makes just $60,000 per episode. Fellow Latina actress Sofia Vergara lands ahead of Rodriguez and the “black-ish” stars, as she makes $250,000 for her role in “Modern Family.” Vergara has been nominated for numerous Golden Globes and Emmys for the series.

Regardless of the non-white comedy stars’ accolades, their earnings put them well behind the cast of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” The scientific sitcom’s stars Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki all command $1 million per episode.

On the drama front, there’s a big income separation between ABC actresses Viola Davis and Kerry Washington from top earners Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.

Davis stars on “How to Get Away With Murder” and Washington is seen on “Scandal.” Meanwhile, Graham and Bledel have reprised their roles in a reboot of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix.

For Bledel and Graham’s gig, they make $750,000 compared to the $250,000 Davis and Washington rake in on their Shonda Rhimes-produced shows. Davis earned an Emmy for her turn on “Murder” and Washington has been nominated twice for “Scandal.”

Additionally, Ellen Pompeo – an actress on “Grey’s Anatomy,” also produced by Rhimes – takes home $400,000. But Pompeo has yet to snag an Emmy nom, unlike her Shondaland cohorts. Graham and Bledel also do not have nominations for the statue.

Finally, Graham and Bledel also sit well ahead of “Empire” actors Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. The latter two earn $175,000 for their roles on the musical Fox drama.

Henson won her first-ever Golden Globe for her work on “Empire.” Both she and Howard are veterans of Hollywood, too. They enjoyed big film careers before signing onto the prime-time series.


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