7 Surprises From the Spectrum of TV Star Salaries

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Javier Bardem

No disrespect to this Oscar-winning actor, but we wouldn’t have expected him to land $1.2 million per episode of his upcoming Amazon drama about 16th-century explorer Hernán Cortés. Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston are both pulling in $1.1 million an episode for their Apple morning show drama — and Bardem’s box office average, $40 million, is $10 million below that of either actress, according to Box Office Mojo.

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Norman Reedus

Looks like AMC Studios is desperate to keep around The Walking Dead’s other talent now that Andrew Lincoln is leaving the zombie drama: The studio is paying Norman Reedus $1 million per episode now, Variety claims.


The Avengers

Sure, we know the Avengers blockbusters boosted the starpower of both Elizabeth Olsen and Anthony Mackie, but we were still wowed to learn that she’s earning $250k per episode for Facebook Watch family drama Sorry for Your Loss and that he’s raking in $475k a pop for the Netflix sci-fi drama Altered Carbon.

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Jennifer Garner

On the other end of the spectrum, why is HBO paying Jennifer Garner only $150k per episode of the comedy Camping? That’s what she was earning for the ABC spy drama Alias 12 years ago. Doesn’t HBO know Garner is America’s New Sweetheart?

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The Arrowverse stars

Despite starring in one of TV’s most bankable superhero franchises, Arrow’s Stephen Amell and The Flash’s Grant Gustin aren’t earning such super salaries from Warner Bros. TV, compared to other TV actors. These two CW stars are getting paid $125k/episode and $100k/episode, respectively.

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The Riverdale stars

Warner Bros. TV is also keeping its purse strings tight for one of The CW’s other popular dramas: KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, and Cole Sprouse are each earning a mere $40k per episode of Riverdale.

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The Fab Five

They’re the friendly faces on one of Netflix’s most talked-about shows, but each member of the Queer Eye quintet only nab $7,500 per episode. That means that across each eight-episode Queer Eye season, the Fab Five is only earning a combined $300k, which is what Alec Baldwin makes for a single episode of his ABC talk show.

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Listen, any of the salaries in the list above would have us laypeople feeling like lottery winners. But some TV stars are pulling in extra-exorbitant paychecks, while others seem to be underpaid in comparison with their peers.

Variety recently exposed the incomes of dozens of small-screen talents, and some of the stats shocked us. We’re talking a big name on The Walking Dead, the entire ensemble cast of CW hit Riverdale, and some A-list movie stars making their way to TV.

Click through the gallery above for the seven biggest surprises!