LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Modern Family star Sofia Vergara has topped the Forbes list of the highest paid actresses in the world, leading a charge by small-screen talent in a year when movie theatres have gone dark, the magazine said on Friday (Oct 2).
Vergara - who is also now a judge on America's Got Talent - earned a whopping US$43 million (S$58 million) in the past 12 months in salary and endorsements. She moved up from second place last year.
The 48-year-old Colombia-born actress earned US$500,000 an episode for the final season of Emmy-winning Modern Family, which wrapped up earlier this year.
Forbes estimated she would earn "at least US$10 million each season" for America's Got Talent, one of the most popular reality competition shows in the United States.
The coronavirus pandemic paralysed Hollywood, forcing crews to stop production and shuttering movie theatres, so many big-budget films have been delayed.
Many film stars also make money by earning a share of the profits - meaning if movies are not released in theatres, their income plummets.
Nevertheless, Oscar winner Angelina Jolie was in second place on the Forbes list at US$35 million.
But actresses who make most of their money from television and/or streaming services made up the bulk of the list.
Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot came in third at US$31 million, but she made a chunk of her money from the Netflix film Red Notice.
Grey's Anatomy lead Ellen Pompeo was eighth at US$19 million, and The Handmaid's Tale star Elisabeth Moss came in ninth at US$16 million.
Another Oscar winner, Viola Davis, made her first appearance on the top 10 list.
The How To Get Away With Murder star - who will soon star in Netflix's adaptation of the August Wilson play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - came in 10th at US$15.5 million.
Even the venerable Meryl Streep (fifth place) made most of her income in the past year from either films for streaming services or television roles.
In total, the top 10 paid actresses in the world in 2020 earned US$254 million in the 12 months leading up to June, Forbes said.
That was down 20 per cent from last year.
The top 10 highest paid actors made nearly double as much - almost US$550 million - in the same period. Last month's list for the men was topped by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at US$87.5 million.
Here is the full list:
1. Sofia Vergara (US$43 million)
2. Angelina Jolie (US$35.5 million)
3. Gal Gadot (US$31.5 million)
4. Melissa McCarthy (US$25 million)
5. Meryl Streep (US$24 million)
6. Emily Blunt (US$22.5 million)
7. Nicole Kidman (US$22 million)
8. Ellen Pompeo (US$19 million)
9. Elisabeth Moss (US$16 million)
10. Viola Davis (US$15.5 million)