Kunal Nayyar with $22 million fourth highest paid TV actor

Kunal Nayyar...

Kunal Nayyar with his wife former Miss India Neha Kapur who were married in 2011.

According to Forbes’s annual list, Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons is this year’s highest-paid actor on television. The comedian raked in $25.5 million between the period of June 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016.

The next three spots were also filled with his BBT costars: Johnny Galecki ($24 million), Simon Helberg ($22.5), and Kunal Nayyar ($22 million). In the fifth spot is NCIS star Mark Harmon.

As Forbes points out, the list shows that Hollywood’s wage gap is still going strong—but interestingly enough, the disparity is much smaller between actors and actresses on TV than it is for male and female movie stars. In total, the 15 male stars on the TV list earned $225 million, whereas a similar list of TV’s highest-paid actresses showed cumulative earnings of $208.5 million for its top 15.

It’s a sizable gap, but is less extreme than the vastly varying salaries for male and female movie stars. Jennifer Lawrence, for example, is this year’s highest-paid actress, earning $46 million. Dwayne Johnson, the year’s highest-paid actor, breezed right by that figure, earning $64.5 million.

One of the reasons there’s such a huge difference? As Forbes’s Maggie McGrath writes, it’s “due in part to the beauty of cast-wide salary negotiations, which is common for large ensemble shows. Big Bang’s Parsons and Galecki earn the same per-episode salary as Kaley Cuoco”—the runner-up on Forbes’s* highest-paid TV actress list, who earned $24.5 million over the same period. That places her squarely between her co-stars Parsons and Galecki.

By comparison, Sofia Vergara is still the highest-paid actress on television, according to Forbes, earning a whopping $43 million (though that figure is also bolstered by lucrative endorsement and licensing deals).

Her earnings are reflective of a larger trend, one that sees actresses hustling for more endorsement and lifestyle deals than their male counterparts—because they tend to make lower base salaries for acting work. “They’re sort of making up for their [wage] shortages with these endorsements,” Forbes staff writer Natalie Robehmed previously told Vanity Fair.

It’s hard to imagine a modern climate in which any of the top-earning female movie stars outpace their male counterparts on salary alone. Here’s hoping we don’t actually have to wait 136 years to see some sort of financial parity in Hollywood (and beyond).

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