Emmy Rossum’s bid for equal pay on Shameless was supported by Showtime

Episode 708
You may remember that a season eight renewal for Showtime comedy Shameless was held up while star Emmy Rossum negotiated for a pay deal on par with veteran actor William H Macy. Rossum’s role is larger than Macy’s and she deserves equal pay, if not more, for that reason alone. For his part Macy supported Rossum and all women, stating that an equal rights amendment was long overdue. Now we know that Showtime supported her too. Showtime President David Nevins said in a press conference earlier this week that they’ve been behind Rossum and he reminded us that she’s also been directing some episodes. He said:

To be clear, parity was justified in this case. We were advocating for that from the beginning. It is great for her and great for us. Emmy has been a force on that show. Not just in front, but behind the cameras. She’ll continue to direct.

[via Jezebel]

If that’s accurate then good for them. The good news is that Rossum struck a deal and Shameless will be back for season eight. (I already love Showtime because they have excellent shows and they’re the only cable network which gives us early press access to shows before they’re released. Take note HBO, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.)

Apparently the issue holding up negotiations was with the production company, Warner Brothers, which also produces The Big Bang Theory. Big Bang Theory has a massive problem with underpaying their female talent. Deadline has this whole article about how Warner Brothers is great at creating parity for women and how, if Rossum is being paid more than Macy as back pay or just because she’s on screen more (it’s unclear if she’s being paid more), it would set a precedent for other women to actually *gasp* break parity and ask for more than their male counterparts, which is a concern because Big Bang contract negotiations are coming up.

The wage gap is especially egregious on Big Bang in that the secondary female characters, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, are thought to earn about $100k an episode while every male core castmember makes at least $750k. Star Kaley Cuoco earns about a million an episode, as do Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki, but the fact that second tier of female characters makes about 15% of what the male actors do at their level is outrageous. That’s not parity in any sense although they surely find ways to justify whatever low amount they’re paying the women and still call it fair.

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photos credit: Showtime

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21 Responses to “Emmy Rossum’s bid for equal pay on Shameless was supported by Showtime”

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  1. detritus says:

    Go Emmy.
    Set those precedents.
    It takes a lot of courage to stand up like she did.

  2. Hannah says:

    Good for Emmy, she deserves the paycheck and more women should do the same.
    On a second note, how Penny makes more money than Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette? Seriously, how Leonard makes more money than Raj and Howard?

  3. Nicole says:

    She deserved it. Not sure BBT is a good equivalent because the core 4 guys and Kaley are the leads. Should the second tier women make more? Yes but the way they tiered the show maybe they should make 500K per episode where the first tier makes 750K. Now I think Mayim is pretty much first tier now so she should be making 750K

    • Lucy2 says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to compare when you have stars and supporting cast. But that pay difference between them on BBT is so huge, if I were those two actresses, I would be pushing for a lot more. That show (inexplicably IMO) is very popular and makes a ton of money. I believe Mayim has also been nominated for awards for her work on it.
      I’m happy for and proud of Emmy, and glad her costars and network support her.

    • C-No says:

      I think the breakdown on BBT salaries is:
      Top tier (Cuoco, Galecki, Parsons): $1M/episode
      Second tier (everyone else):
      Male: $750K/ep
      Female: $100K/ep

      That’s the problem; second tier female actors earn WAY less than second tier male actors.

      (At least that’s the way I read it, might be incorrect.)

      • Celebitchy says:

        Thanks C-No, that’s correct. I thought I explained it well enough but I see where that paragraph was confusing.

      • Nicole says:

        Yea makes sense. They should negotiate more. Or they should team with the second tier guys to get it. The core 4 guys and Kaley negotiated together the last contract. They should do the same for the other two. I know at least Mayim is a huge part of the show now so she definitely deserves a massive oh bump. I’m actually surprised by how little she makes this far in

        I’m all for negotiating a higher salary to get the same as a man. I had my first taste of the same thing as a young professional recently. Scary but I pushed through it (the fact that I was scared says everything about my conditioning right?)

      • attackofthekb says:

        I have been watching the show since the beginning. It may not be perfect but it’s on when I’m watching dinner and after dealing with truck drivers and angry customers all day BBT is not a bad way to turn my mind down. Anyway, justifying why I watch aside, another theory could be that in the beginning Bernadette and Amy were not even second tier. They were not in every episode. It could be that they were paid 100k/ episode because they weren’t on as much. However, for some time now they’ve been second tier and they have long deserved to be paid more. The women are the best part of the show imo. I hope that at this next negotiation they are paid more. Otherwise I won’t be able to justify watching the show any longer.

      • lucy2 says:

        If that’s the case, that’s insanity. They need to yell at their agents to yell at the studio.

      • Bridget says:

        Bernadette and Amy came along midway through the series and became full cast members midway. BUT both carry such a huge amount of the comedy those ladies deserve a huge renegotiation. They bring so much to the table.

      • Erica_V says:

        I want to add to this that when the women who play Amy & Bernadette negotiated the $100K per episode it was before they were series regulars AND before the other characters renegotiated for higher deals.

        I assume when their contract comes up soon, as they are now regulars and have a precedent of seeing the other actors negotiations, they will ask for/be paid more.

  4. Inkblotter says:

    As much as I enjoy Shameless, I think this is more about her ego than anything else. Emmy Rossum can’t act her way out of a paper bag, and the show would probably tank if it weren’t for an ensemble cast. This isn’t like House of Cards where Robin Wright carries the show just as much as Kevin Spacey and has the chops to do it. It’s more like someone in middle management wanting a CEO’s salary

    • lucy2 says:

      I disagree, I think she is on par with Macy in terms of role on the show, if not more in the last year or two.
      I never cared much for her before it, but I’ve come to really like her as an actress on Shameless. I think she does a very good job on the show.

  5. Leslieknop says:

    I love Emmy! I think she’s amazing on screen and talented behind the camera too. I’m excited to see more of her work and I hope she starts directing bigger projects.

    Also suggestion to Warner bros on how to handle the BBT contract negiotations: cancel it. That’s how jumped shark 2 years ago.

  6. smcollins says:

    Good for her! Obviously there’s still a lot of work to do with pay equality (across the board, not just in HW), but it’s a step in the right direction.

  7. Bridget says:

    On this subject, did anyone read that Natalie Portman, who was then an Oscar nominee and PRODUCER ON THE MOVIE made 3 times less than Ashton Kutcher when they made No Strings Attached?

  8. Jack says:

    She deserves it. She certainly carries the shitty show. I can’t believe Macy is paid more than her. He’s annoying & just a waste of space.