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Thursday
Sep292011

Tina Fey, Eva Longoria: Hollywood's Highest-Paid TV Actresses

Jason Kempin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The 10 women on Forbes' Highest-Paid TV Actresses list earned a total of $94 million between May 2010 and May 2011. That may seem like a lot, but consider their movie peers: Just the top three women in movies earned almost as much combined ($88 million).

So yes, women make a lot less in TV than they do if they are big movie stars, but there are advantages. Working mothers with TV roles usually get to stay in L.A. (or New York) instead of having to jet around the world to film locations. There's a steady paycheck and no worrying about Angelina Jolie beating you out for the part in the next big film.

And usually the roles are better. None of the women on our list play the doting girlfriend or the damsel in distress. They all portray strong-willed, well-rounded women who have the room to grown and change over the course of many seasons.

Both Tina Fey and Eva Longoria tied for first place, having earned $13 million between May 2010 and May 2011.

In addition to starring on 30 Rock, Fey is the producer and head writer. And while the show hasn't been a massive rating success for Comcast's NBC network, it has developed the kind of loyal following that laps up DVDs and watches the shows again and again. 30 Rock is now in syndication on Fox and Comedy Central. Fey's unique take on the work-place comedy is a big part of the reason the show draws such loyal fans. Who else but Fey could coin a term like lizzing?

You don't see too many female crime investigators in the movies but two women make our list with those TV roles: Mariska Hargitay and Marg Helgenberger.

The pair tie for third place with Marcia Cross. Each of the three women earned an estimated $10 million during the same time frame.

Helgenberg has anchored the original CSI on CBS for 11 years now. In that time much of the rest of the cast has rotated. She's now acting opposite her third male lead: Ted Danson. The former Cheers actor took over from Laurence Fishburne, who had starred in the show for two and a half seasons. Hargitay has also become a television mainstay. She's a big part of the reason Law & Order: SVU (now in its 13th season) has become the most successful part of the Dick Wolf franchise. Between new and syndicated episodes SVU pulls in an average 53 million viewers per week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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