Jim Parsons Now Makes $1 Million Per Episode. How Do These 13 Other LGBT TV Stars Stack Up?

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - ArrivalsIt’s been reported that the core cast of The Big Bang Theory recently renegotiated their pay to a whopping $1 million per episode. It’s a good thing, too, because they were barely surviving off their previous (measly) $325,000 per episode. A girl’s gotta eat.

That makes star Jim Parsons the highest paid out gay actor on television. So drinks are on him.

Here’s a look at how other LGBT TV performers of past and present stack up in the payroll department.

Neil Patrick Harris — How I Met Your Mother — $210,000 per episode

how i met your mother neil patrick harris shirtless paley festival

Jesse Tyler Ferguson — Modern Family — $175,000 per episode

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Raven Symone — That’s So Raven — $35,000 per episode


Matt Bomer — White Collar — $125,000 per episode


Gillian Anderson — The X Files — $100,000 per episode

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.16.06 PM

Matt Dallas — Kyle XY — $40,000 per episode


Suze Orman — TV Appearances, Books, Columns, etc.  — $3-5 million per year


David Hyde Pierce — Frasier — $750,000 per episode


Cynthia Nixon — Sex and the City — $325,000 per episode


Chris Colfer — Glee — $45,000 per episode


Ellen Degeneres — Ellen — $1.2 million per week (!)

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.21.48 PM

Jane Lynch — Glee — $80,000 per episode

Jane-Lynch Anna Paquin — True Blood — $275,000 per episode


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  • SteveDenver

    Good for him, GET IT WHILE IT’S BEING GIVEN!
    Just saw Jim in Zach Braff’s crowd-funded movie WISH I WAS THERE. I liked the part he had, he delivered. It appears he’s making careful decisions about big screen roles, taking great supporting roles, instead of jumping at starring roles in lousy films. I hope he has an enduring and awesome career, I have read only wonderful praise about him.

  • tardis

    Wow! I remember seeing him in small roles like Garden State or 10 Items or Less…now he’s banking. Good job!

    @Ihadtosayit: Big Bang Theory is funny. Probably not a laugh riot, but it’s amusing and…sweet. Sitcoms work best with their laugh tracks. Without them, they look odd because they’re tailored for a live audience so you hardly get a cinematic value in it, like editing, score/music, etc.

  • Dxley

    LGB, not LGBT.

  • Lefty

    David Hyde Pierce and Jim Parsons both deserve every cent they make as they’re both the best things in their respective shows.
    How I Met Your Mother is an extraordinary achievement. I still can’t work out how a comedy show that doesn’t have one single actually funny line in it (and yet every line is delivered so smugly by the cast, as though it’s comedy gold) could last for so many seasons. It has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

  • tardis

    @Ihadtosayit: But that’s what I’m saying. Sitcom shows are tailored for live audiences, if that’s the route that’s taken of course. The video up there looks awkward because space is accommodated for the reaction. Live TV shows is like going to a comedy club.

  • Cam

    I’m surprised they are all getting paid as much as Parson, he and the side characters of Bernadette and Amy seem much more funny.

    I’m surprised that the guy who plays leonard is getting the same amount.

    Good for Parsons, grab it while you can!

  • michael mellor

    Big Bang Theory is not particularly gay-friendly as a show. Jim Parson’s role is that of an effeminate dweeb. It comes across as homophobic.

  • Lazycrockett

    The more important deal is the three will also get a % of future earnings from syndication and merchandise.

  • Kenover

    You left out David Schwimmer, who was the first to make a cool million per episode in the last season of Friends.

  • Tookietookie123

    I never liked the Big Bang Theory, the comedy on that show is crass and dull, and there are plenty of other shows that are far superior to this one. Also, the laugh track was a major turn off when I first saw this show, it’s 2014, laugh tracks are a thing of the past.

  • Ron Jackson

    I will be completely disappointed if the writers/producers don’t have Parson’s character come out of the closet on the show before it ends in a couple of years.

  • money718

    @Ihadtosayit: I don’t get what point you are trying to make. TBBT is not the #1 comedy on tv for nothing. Take the laughter away away from comedy and it sounds like that. Whether it’s The Tonight Show, Seinfeld, All in the Family, and on and on and on. That’s the point of taping in front a studio audience, duh.

  • LadyL

    @Ron Jackson: Don’t wait for that. And don’t expect any Big Reveals about Raj either.

  • Lvng1tor

    @michael mellor: You are reading into something that is not there. There is nothing homophobic about the Big Bang Theory.

    As for all the people who say it’s not funny….that’s your opinion. Humor is subjective. I think it’s a riot and one of the few shows I can watch over and over again. It all comes down to the ratings and revenue. This show is HUGE and makes a ton. Parsons, Galeki & Cuoko are worth what they are getting in comparison to what the show makes.

    Personally Mayim Bialik is my favorite part of the show and saved Sheldon’s character from stagnation.

    Adjusted for inflation David Hyde Pierce also made apx 1m/ep Of course he wasn’t tech out at the time. Sean Hayes was making about 250,000-300,000/ep

  • crispychicken

    @michael mellor: Not to mention all the jokes about Howard and Raj’s relationship being “gay” and them panicking because eww gay. From that to the barrage of pathetic and obvious sex jokes and the fact that they treat all geeks as lonely single pervs who have no social skills and constantly crave sex (and Howard lives with his mom oh god), its the worst show on TV right now.Every character is an awful stereotype and it honestly makes me mad every time it comes on.

  • Xzamilio

    David Schwimmer is not gay… at least no longer relevant enough to where anyone would actually care if he’s gay lol

  • samwise343

    One common stereotype is that gay people are very funny and typically have a great sense of humor.

    It seems like the numerous complaints on this board totally shatter that stereotype.

    Way to go, guys.

  • Arkansas Razorback

    He is a wonderful actor, IMO.

  • ingyaom

    Speaking of Ellen and Arrested Development, they left out Ellen’s wife Portia de Rossi (or however it’s spelled).

  • michael mellor

    Big Bang Theory is a conservative show which appeals to conservatives. It is not gay-friendly.

  • Chris

    @Ihadtosayit: Actually, Big Bang Theory is filmed before a studio audience. You can gety tickets for the taping and the show is hilarious.

  • NG22

    This show thrives on mediocrity, as does almost everything on CBS. The network’s lowest common denominator style ensures tremendous viewership (especially among seniors), but its popularity is not equal to its quality. I’m happy for Jim Parsons because he was incredible in “The Normal Heart,” but his show was, is, and always will be through decades of syndication a mass-market, generic piece of subprime programming.

  • lykeitiz

    @NG22: Yes @Ihadtosayit: and Yes!

    Parsons is great, considering the weak material he has to work with. The writing is pale compared to older great sitcoms like Roseanne, Raymond, Will & Grace, and on & on.

    The characters are thin & stereotypical, not fleshed out characters with realistic perspectives.

  • money718

    @Ihadtosayit: @NG22: @lykeitiz: The show is great. Period. It’s a comedy, it does what it is suppose to do. If you don’t like it, don’t watch lol. Some of you are ridiculous. Older great sitcoms like Raymond, Will & Grace and Roseanne? Maybe TBBT is not looking for viewers your age.

  • Stache99

    @SteveDenver: I didn’t see him in that but he was great in the Normal Heart even though is wasn’t unlike his normal character in BBT. He still killed it.

  • Stache99

    @Ihadtosayit: Ha and I don’t mean their jokes. I’ve tried watching it and it’s so not funny even though I did like some of the characters. If you find that funny then your easily amused I guess.

    Like others here have said good for him though.

  • Stache99

    @tardis: It’s group psychosis. Just like some things are never as funny as when you see them in the theater with a bunch of other laughing people. For some reason you laugh at stuff you might not normally find funny.

  • Stache99

    @money718: No reason to get angry and personally attack anyone here. If anything their giving the actor high praise for carrying this kind of show.

  • Stache99

    @lykeitiz:I see what your saying and I just don’t see this as standing the test of time. Of coarse what do I know. I still watch the Golden Girls :-)

  • vive

    @tardis: “Sitcoms work best with their laugh tracks. Without them, they look odd.”

    Two words put that hypothesis to rest:

    Modern Family.


  • Lvng1tor

    @Stache99: , @money718: not attacking anyone just pointing out how over the top a lot of the hate is. Hell you are doing just as much (actually more) one sided delivery as he is. It’s a comedy… comedy is subjective. Honestly I liked the Golden Girls but not as much as I like BBT. It’s a personal thing and no need to make it seem like those who do like it are mindwashed sheep.’s a tv show…relax. Of course if you are the type of person who would judge someone in their entirety based on a tv show….your just an ass…yup that was a personal statement.

  • lykeitiz

    @money718: And how exactly is throwing ageism snark at me a defense of TBBT?

    Your writing is as intelligent as theirs. I guess YOU are their target audience.

  • lykeitiz

    @Stache99: Thank you! And apparently you know good writing. They’re still “Golden”! :-)

  • onthemark

    @Ihadtosayit: I wish people like you would just stop using the term “laugh track”: something that hasn’t been used in TV since the early ’70s at least. A laugh track was totally “canned” laughter from laughers who weren’t watching the show in question. (Maybe they were at a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”) For 40 years or longer, TV has filmed sitcoms to a live studio audience, which is entirely different from a “laugh track.”

    @Ihadtosayit: If you go to a legitimate theater comedy, say Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde, do you tell the audience to shut up and stop laughing, eek, it’s taking away from your pristine “Arrested Development” experience?

  • Cam

    You have to admit that it is interesting timing that the second Jim Parsons started to be outted on the gay blogs they got him a girlfriend on the show.

    Although the character most likely was cast because of hollywood homophobia, I do have to admit that Myam Bialik is hilarious in the role.

  • vive

    I’m sure he works hard, and I like the show, but does he really work THAT much harder than you or me, or contribute that much more to the betterment of humanity? I am surprised nobody has yet commented on the obscenity of an arbitrarily selected few being paid such large amounts of money.

  • onthemark

    @Ihadtosayit: It was silly of me to suppose you’ve EVER been to live theater, after your 8th grade teacher dragged you to “Our Town” or something. That must have been traumatic for you!

  • BlogShag

    @Kenover: Wow, attention span much? David Schwimmer is not gay, silly.

Comments are closed.