The president of Showtime wants to be clear that the network was pushing equal pay for Emmy Rossum during her salary negotiations for Shameless.
Rossum’s holdout for higher pay than her co-star William H. Macy kept Season 8 on hold, though a deal was eventually struck that places her salary on par. During a TCA panel on Monday, Showtime president David Nevins clarified: “To be clear, parity was justified in this case. We were advocating for that from the beginning. It is great for her and great for us. Emmy has been a force on that show. Not just in front, but behind the cameras. She’ll continue to direct.”
The so-called standoff between Rossum and Showtime reportedly came into play when she requested more money than Macy for Season 8, beyond the standard parity guidelines set in place. Via Deadline:
The studio reportedly offered both Rossum and William H. Macy the same salary under so-called favored nations terms that assure financial parity. As an Oscar nominee with an extensive body of work, Macy had started off with a higher original quote, and Rossum, the series’ breakout star, was to catch up with him. She had been holding out for a salary higher than Macy’s, briefly putting the future of Shameless in limbo.
Since, as this site has emphasized, Rossum’s character Fiona Gallagher has been the show’s narrative fixture from the beginning—with a much more compelling arc, broader presence and complexity than Macy has in the role of the deadbeat screw-up Frank—it makes total sense that Rossum should eventually surpass him in earnings. Still, great that she’s now at least earning equal pay. As Deadline noted in a December article before the deal:
Warner Bros. TV, which produces Shameless, is a studio that historically has followed the parity rule to a tee, with such series as Friends and The Big Bang Theory. Creating a precedent on Shameless appears unlikely because that would open the door for similar demands on a host of other successful series. (The next Big Bang Theory contract negotiations are just around the corner).