Vergara earns the most cash for third year running

Vergara earns the most cash for third year running

LOS ANGELES - Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is the highest-paid actress in American television for the third year in a row, earning some US$37 million (S$46 million), according to a list published on Wednesday.

She earned significantly more than the top-paid TV actor - Ashton Kutcher, star of Two And A Half Men - who made some US$26 million, according to Forbes magazine, known for celebrity and other rich lists.

"At 42, the Modern Family star continues her streak in large part due to her business savvy," said Forbes.

The Colombian-born actress - who literally stood on a pedestal at this year's Emmy awards - reportedly makes US$325,000 an episode for Modern Family.

But she is raking in millions in addition to her TV work because she has endorsement deals with beverage, cosmetic, clothing and other companies. For instance, she is the face of Diet Pepsi.

She is also the co-founder of multi-million-dollar talent management and marketing firm Latin World Entertainment, and launched her own perfume earlier this year.

In second place is Law And Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay, whose estimated earnings total US$13 million.

The 50-year-old star of the longest-running drama series currently on TV earns US$450,000 per episode and bulks up her earning through syndication profits.

Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory took home an estimated US$11 million for third place.

Tied in fourth spot were The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies, who earned US$10 million, as did Ellen Pompeo of Grey's Anatomy and Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother.

Smulders' co-star on How I Met Your Mother, Alyson Hannigan, came in fifth at US$9.5 million, followed by comediennes Amy Poehler at US$7 million and Mindy Kaling - writer, producer and star of The Mindy Project on the Fox network - at US$6.5 million.

Eighth place was also a tie, with Scandal star Kerry Washington, The New Girl's Zooey Deschanel and Courteney Cox of Friends all taking home an estimated US$6 million.

Claire Danes of Homeland earned US$5 million, while Lena Dunham, the 28-year-old creator and star of HBO series Girls, rounded out the top 10 with earnings of US$3.5 million.

Forbes' list is determined by estimating pre-tax earnings between June last year and June this year from the actresses' TV work, endorsements, residuals and advertising work, and by talking to agents, managers and lawyers. The estimate does not include management fees and other expenses.

The top-10 actresses on the list made a combined US$140 million. That compares with the US$214 million combined earnings of the 10 leading TV actors.

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