Business is good for Fox’s hit drama series “9-1-1.” So good that its cast is getting a raise which will reportedly make one of the program’s lead stars the highest-paid Black actress on a network television show.
According to Deadline, veteran actress Angela Bassett, who plays Athena Grant on the NAACP Image Award-winning show, often spoke in support of reasonable pay rates. However, after some “lengthy negotiations,” she and the show’s other regulars are all getting pay increases.
Bassett perhaps might’ve seen the most significant jump of them all. The article says the “Waiting to Exhale” star will take home somewhere “north of $450,000 an episode.” It added, “That is believed to be among the top salaries on network television for an actor — male or female — and could be the highest ever for an actress of color on a broadcast drama series.” The show’s male lead, Peter Krause, comes in second. After a 25% raise, the star will land in the low $300,000-per episode range. The actor is best known for his role in HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”
TV Line reported that it’s somewhat difficult to accurately gauge how Bassett’s salary compares to others without confirming figures. In the case of Kerry Washington, the NAACP Image Award winner, reportedly made an estimated $80,000 per episode for her role as the crisis management expert Olivia Pope in the ABC drama series Scandal.
In contrast, Viola Davis only made roughly $250,000 per episode on the ABC Emmy award-winning drama show, “How to Get Away with Murder,” according to Variety. Davis often advocates for pay equity in Hollywood. Over the years, her talent and success garnered her the nickname the “Black Meryl Streep.” To that, the actress says, “OK, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth.”
Elsewhere, fans online applauded Bassett for her latest career milestone. One fan on Twitter wrote in response to the announcement, “She deserves every penny. She’s Angela freakin Bassett! Owns every role.”
Another person commented, “For some reason I feel like she’s still underpaid. She should be getting like a million or more in my opinion for what she brings to the show.”
Bassett’s contribution to the show stems beyond acting. The 62-year-old also serves as an executive producer, a title she’s held since season two. The “What’s Love Got to Do with It” star initially served as a co-executive producer. She was also an EP on the series’ spin-off title, “9-1-1: Lone Star.” The flagship show was recently renewed for its fifth season.