Emmy Rossum Will Return to Shameless After Holding Out for Equal Pay with William H. Macy

Rossum at  a Stand Up to Cancer event in April. Image via Getty
Rossum at a Stand Up to Cancer event in April. Image via Getty

As Shameless’s Fiona Gallagher, Emmy Rossum has fleshed out one of the toughest, most complex woman characters on dramedy TV, yet this week we learned she wasn’t getting the same pay as fellow lead William H. Macy, who plays her deadbeat dad. After holding out on her Season 8 contract, though, it looks like she’s achieved her equal pay.


On Friday, THR reported that Rossum wanted parity with Macy, particularly since he’d recently received a raise that “puts his salary in the upper echelon of cable dramas.” On Tuesday, Macy—a mensch—voiced his support of her salary demands and also schooled some TMZ paps about the Equal Rights Amendment. Today, Rossum tweeted that Shameless would go on, implying that she and the creators had reached some kind of contractual deal and that the show had been renewed:

Shameless, which will conclude its seventh season this Sunday, has been a consistently great show for its duration, and one of the only current depictions of poor people on television that has made income instability a central theme. And it’s hard to ignore the seeming parallels between Rossum’s boss negotiation move and the growth of Fiona Gallagher on the show—in Season 7, she’s just discovering how to become a businessperson, transferring the grit and smarts she’s been incubating as a matriarch for her family onto her own life. (Fiona is learning self-care, in the parlance of our times.) And while Rossum and Macy have been equal stars on the series, her character arc has been much more important to this season’s development and narrative propulsion, so it makes sense that she’d assert herself now, the disparity too plain to ignore. That said, let’s hope she gets backpay, too—one of her demands, reportedly, was that she be paid more than Macy for forthcoming seasons, in order to even out their pay for the show across the board. Smart move, and I’m thrilled Shameless will return.



I’ve seen a number of crew member friends complaining on Facebook today that Rossum’s move was selfish, and in danger of costing lower-level crew their jobs (in an effort to cut the rest of the budget to accommodate her salary). It’s so infuriating. Don’t blame the underpaid person for the boss’ unwillingness to cut into their profit margin by - likely - not that much. The person that infuriated me the most also pointed out that Rossum has far more screen time than Macy. So how is the request unfair?