'Shameless': Emmy Rossum Resolves Salary Standoff, Paving Way for Season 8

The actress had been seeking equal pay — and more — for the Showtime dramedy.
Courtesy of Showtime
William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum in 'Shameless'

Emmy Rossum's salary standoff has come to an end.

The Shameless star, who had been holding up the Showtime dramedy's season eight renewal, has come to terms with producers Warner Bros. Television on a new contract.

"Playing Fiona Gallagher has been one of the great privileges of my life. I'm so happy to continue w my SHAMELESS family! Back to work in May!" Rossum tweeted Wednesday, days after The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported that she was holding out for equal pay with fellow star William H. Macy — and more — after years of being paid less than her male counterpart.

Producers WBTV and Showtime did not immediately return THR's request for comment on her contract status or the show's official renewal, which Rossum indicated in her tweet. The season seven finale airs Sunday. Sources say Rossum had an offer of equal pay on the table. It's unclear if she received more than Macy.

Macy, 66, who stars as drug and alcohol addict Frank Gallagher, recently renegotiated his deal with WBTV for the yet-to-be announced eighth season and scored a raise that sources say puts his salary in the upper echelon of cable dramas. Rossum, 30, was seeking a similar deal — and to make more than Macy. The cast's last renegotiation a few years ago gave raises to all the main members of the ensemble. But Macy, who came into Shameless with an extensive film résumé and an Oscar nomination for his role in Fargo, always has been paid more than the rest of the cast.

Shameless has become a key piece of Showtime's original scripted lineup. The drama has pulled off the rare feat of airing twice in the same calendar year (this year) in a bid to fill the originals gap created by Homeland's delay to early 2017. Shameless also is a key asset for WBTV, which is attempting to sell more series to premium cable outlets as broadcast networks buy from their vertically aligned studios. But while the U.S. adaptation is a hit stateside, because it is based on a format it does not sell well internationally, limiting its value.

In its seventh season, Shameless is a top five cable drama among total viewers and adults 18-49 as well as adults 18-34. Shameless, along with Homeland, ranks as Showtime's longest-running scripted original. They are part of a roster of hourlong shows that also includes The Affair, Billions and Ray Donovan. Set to join that roster in 2017 are Twin Peaks, Jim Carrey-produced I'm Dying Up Here, Daniel Craig starrer Purity and John Ridley's mini Guerrilla starring Idris Elba. This past year, the pay cabler bid farewell to dramas Masters of Sex, Roadies and Penny Dreadful.

Rossum has become the latest actress to demand equal pay with her male co-stars. House of Cards star Robin Wright threatened to go public if she didn't get parity with Kevin Spacey on the Netflix drama. "There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in House of Cards," she said in May. "I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood's character was more popular than [Frank's] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, 'You better pay me or I’m going to go public.' And they did."

Other actresses who have received parity include the stars of Modern Family, who were bumped up after the show broke out (and collected multiple awards-season wins) to match Ed O'Neill, who initially was paid more because he was a name-brand TV star when the show first launched. The same is true for the cast of Friends, who all wound up earning the same after Courteney Cox initially had a bigger paycheck at the show's start given her higher profile at the time. 
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