Pompeo, who stars in the medical drama as Meredith Grey, told The Hollywood Reporter that she will earn $575,000 an episode for seasons 15 and 16, under a deal signed late a year ago. She'll also be permanently adding the title of "producer" to her credits on the series, while also being bumped to executive producer on the forthcoming firefighter spinoff series.
The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, claims she will be making $575,000 for each episode, along with a signing bonus and two full back-end equity points on the medical series, which totals to a whopping $20 million per year. Like many women, she had to fight to be paid adequately, particularly compared to her male counterparts. Deadline reports Pompeo is slated to be paid upward of $550,000 per episode, making her the highest-paid dramatic actress on TV right now. "For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise", she said. "I was like, "I'm not going to be stuck on a medical show for five years".
Pompeo recognizes that this path is her own, and may not apply for everyone: "I've chosen to financially empower myself so that I never have to be ducking predators and chasing trophies".
Pompeo said that Rhimes' advice and seeing the numbers of how much money her acting was generating for her employer were two turning points in her learning to ask for more money in her career. "They wouldn't give it to me", she said. But I also feel completely comfortable saying that I walked into that room batting the s-- out of my eyelashes.
"When your face and your voice have been part of something that's generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, 'OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this'".
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"I'm sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy?"
While many were concerned that Dempsey's exit would cost the show viewership, Grey's Anatomy's TRP shot up. Now, what did that look like?
And while actors usually shy away from discussing their paychecks in public, Pompeo believes that she can set an example for other women to stand up against the gender pay gap in Hollywood. I know that's the industry perception because I've been this character for 14 years.
Pompeo also shared that she was stunned about the producers' hurry to replace Derek's character in the show.
Of course, the show's return after a long hiatus helped bring in audiences, but Pompeo's news-dominating new deal certainly didn't hurt. Not that I can't do a cool cable thing, but I'm not going to have this whole second life as a movie star. I assume tomorrow everyone's going to hate us.