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Hollywood Still Has A Gender Wage Gap Issue — But Less So In TV

This year's highest-earning entertainer on the small screen is a woman, according to Forbes.

By Katherine Biek | September 23, 2016

Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" made $25.5 million before taxes in the past year, making him the highest paid television actor of 2016.

By comparison, the year's highest paid TV actress —"Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara — earned $43 million. That's thanks, in part, to some big endorsement deals.

Vergara besting Parsons for the year's earnings is pretty significant. When Forbes released its lists of the 2016 highest-paid movie actors and actresses, all media outlets could do was point out how much less women made.

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When you combine their earnings, the 10 highest paid actors made $456.5 million. That's more than double the $205 million the top 10 highest paid actresses made together during the same 12-month time frame.

But this gender wage gap trend has been going on for years in Hollywood.

We looked at Forbes' highest paid movie actors and actresses lists all the way back through 2011, and found the No. 1 earning actor always makes more than his female counterpart — an average of about $33 million more.

Things aren't so much in the men's favor on the small screen.

Vergara, who's topped Forbes' list for women for the past five years, has brought home more money than the year's highest paid TV actor three times now.

The smaller wage gap in TV is definitely helped by the fact casts can negotiate their salaries together; that's why Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki of "The Big Bang Theory" all make $1 million per episode.

And while women are still underrepresented on any screen, television closes that gap the most. A recent diversity report found 42 percent of series regulars on TV are actresses, while only 26.5 percent of lead movie roles go to women and girls.

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