Sofia Vergara tops the list of the best paid actresses on television
Forbes cover girl Sofia Vergara is on top of the world.
The Colombian actress just turned 40 and celebrated with a lavish week-long getaway in Mexico where it’s rumored she became engaged to longtime beau Nick Loeb. Professionally speaking, her ABC hit, "Modern Family," averaged 12 million viewers in its third season, a slew of endorsement and licensing deals keep paychecks fat, and LatinWE, the media company she co-founded in 1996, just had a top-earning year with $27 million in revenues. We estimate Vergara’s earnings between May 2011 and May 2012 at $19 million, making her the top earning actress on U.S. television.
Not bad for a farmer’s daughter from Barranquilla, Colombia.
In Vergara, television has found the crossover star it’s been waiting for since Desi Arnaz left the airwaves. Her appeal with Hispanics is unrivaled; she has a positive Q Score more than twice that of the average celebrity. And with the ABC smash hit "Modern Family," Vergara’s won over American audiences without alienating her Latina roots. For advertisers, the combination is electric. In the past year, the actress has signed endorsement deals in English and Spanish that amount to a whopping $12 million. Kmart has gotten behind her clothing line with an advance that will total $7 million by the end of 2012.
The past twelve months have made Vergara the reigning queen of primetime television, out-earning even uber-lucrative reality star Kim Kardashian, who comes in at second place on our list by a scant $1 million. Kardashian, whose family just re-upped their contract with E! for $60 million, kept busy in 2012 with "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and keeping up appearances in the wake of her quickie divorce. We estimate Kim earned $18 million between May 2011 and May 2012.
The two top earners have both been tabloid staples over the past twelve months; Kim’s publicly flaunted for her whirlwind romance with rapper Kanye West, and Sofia’s personal life made equally big news. But while Kim’s made an art form of toying with the press, for Vergara the experience has become something of a nuisance. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend was accused of some serious philandering in June and the actress found herself a target for paparazzi in New York City. “I might kill one of them,” she told me conspiratorially on a weekday afternoon perched on the penthouse terrace of the Trump Soho hotel while swarms of photographers crowded the sidewalk below.