In addition to compiling a list of the biggest (known) actor salaries in Hollywood which saw soon-to-be-retired 007, Daniel Craig, cash in a monstrous $100 million paycheque for Rian Johnson’s forthcoming Knives Out sequels, Variety has taken it upon itself to put together a breakdown of the highest-paid actors on TV (as of 2021).
Previously, actors viewed navigating from feature-length films to television as a career setback. Generally speaking, you only wanted to “progress” the other way. But since the renaissance of the small screen, which hailed a new era rich with premium short-form + serialised content – i.e. anything HBO did from The Sopranos to True Detective and beyond, AMC’s Mad Men, Netflix’s House of Cards – television is where both the superior story-telling and paydays have come from. Hence why you’re about to encounter the salaries of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Jeff Bridges, Kate Winslet, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Steve Martin, Martin Short, and plenty more A-listers.
Streaming money has once again made a strong showing, with 11 of the top 29 names securing some tidy income from an online viewership; gradually encroaching on the long-held territory occupied by traditional networks (cable or otherwise). The crown, however, belongs to HBO and HBO Max, with a grand total of 11 entrants including the top spot (four from Succession alone).
“We’re in a little bit of a bubble right now,” explains an unnamed Hollywood agent in reference to the current streaming boom and appetite of Netflix, Amazon, Disney, HBO Max, etc.
“I don’t see salaries diminishing at this point… I’m still pretty darn bullish on that.”
Check out the highest-paid actors on TV for 2021 below.
Here Are The Highest-Paid Actors On TV – Salary Per Episode 
**All figures converted to USD
- Robert Downey Jr., The Sympathizer (HBO) – $2 million minimum
- Chris Pratt, The Terminal List (Amazon) – $1.4 million
- Jeff Bridges, The Old Man (FX) – $1 million
- Bryan Cranston, Your Honor (Showtime) – $750,000
- Sarah Jessica Parker, And Just Like That… (HBO Max) – $650,000 to $750,000
- Cynthia Nixon, And Just Like That… (HBO Max) – $650,000 to $750,000
- Kristin Davis, And Just Like That… (HBO Max) – $650,000 to $750,000
- Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown (HBO) – $650,000
- Gillian Anderson, The First Lady (Showtime) – $600,000
- Viola Davis, The First Lady (Showtime) – $600,000
- Michelle Pfeiffer, The First Lady (Showtime) – $600,000
- Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us (HBO) – $600,000
- Steve Martin, Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) – $600,000
- Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) – $600,000
- Alec Baldwin, Dr Death (Peacock) – $575,000
- Angela Bassett, 9-1-1 (Fox) – $450,000
- Jude Law, The Third Day (HBO) – $425,000
- Brian Cox, Succession (HBO) – $400,000 to $500,000
- Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso (Apple) – $400,000 for Season 1
- Henry Cavill, The Witcher (Netflix) – $400,000
- Ted Danson, Mr Mayor (NBC) – $400,000
- Sara Gilbert, The Conners (ABC) – $400,000
- John Goodman, The Conners (ABC) – $400,000
- Laurie Metcalf, The Conners (ABC) – $400,000
- David Harbour, Stranger Things (Netflix) – $350,000 to $400,000
- Winona Ryder, Stranger Things (Netflix) – $350,000 to $400,000
- Kieran Culkin, Succession (HBO) – $300,000 to $350,000
- Sarah Snook, Succession (HBO) – $300,000 to $350,000
- Jeremy Strong, Succession (HBO) – $300,000 to $350,000