Angela Bassett Makes History; Becomes TV’s Highest-Paid Actress of Color

edited August 2021 in Entertainment
By Victor Omondi
Life is taking a sweet turn for drama actress Angela Bassett. As Fox’s 9-1-1 enters its 5th season, all of the show’s regulars will be receiving a 25% pay increase, according to Deadline.

The drama star has set the pace, as her new salary is now in the “North of” $450,000 per episode, making her one of the highest-paid actors on television, male or female; and the highest paid actress of color in history.

Bassett joined hands with Ryan Murphy in developing the drama series. The two are now the show’s executive producers. The rest of the cast will also receive an increase in pay for the 5th season of the series. Bassett’s co-star, Peter Krause, will now receive around $300,000 per episode as well as Jennifer Love Hewitt, while the rest; Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Oliver Star, Ryan Guzman, and Rockmond Dunbar receive $80,000 each per episode.

The latter group, which plays as the show’s first responders in Los Angeles, will receive a $20,0000 increase when the show enters its 6th season.

While it may not be practically possible to get what other actors earn, TVLine has made a comparison of Bassett’s pay rise with the pay of other Black actresses in the industry.

According to the outlet, Kerry Washington began at $80,000 on “Scandal,” but her salary had increased to $250,000 per episode by the end of the show. Elsewhere, Viola Davis was reportedly earning $250,000 by the second episode of “How To Get Away With Murder.” The amount may have doubled in 2020.
The outlet also mentioned that “Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson’s pay was “bumped up to at least $125K per episode, but by now — especially with the occasional directing —is surely closer to the $375K that co-star Justin Chambers reportedly was getting at the time of his exit.”

In an interview with TheGrio earlier this year, Bassett spoke about her role in 9-1-1 as a police officer, a role she took on after last year’s summer.

“I think in the portrayal of Athena, who we’ve come to know her as, the type of woman she, the way she loves her family, the way she loves her profession…she’s a good representation and portrayal of the best of what we hope for in our law enforcement, and she holds that tenet, that mandate to serve and protect her community,” she said.


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