Julianna Margulies on 'Good Fight' Pay Dispute: "I Said Yes, They Said No"

The actress elaborates on what she says was a lowball offer to appear on the spinoff of her show 'The Good Wife.'
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Julianna Margulies

In April, Julianna Margulies revealed that she was offered a guest arc on The Good Fight, a spinoff of her CBS series The Good Wife, but turned it down because CBS wouldn't meet her fee to appear.

In a new interview, the actress has elaborated on the dispute in the name of promoting equal pay for women in the industry — and because CBS was "twisting it that I didn't want to be on the show."

Speaking on SiriusXM's EW Radio, Margulies said Good Wife and Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King approached her about reprising her character, Alicia Florrick, in a story on the CBS All Access spinoff that would reunite her with former co-stars Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo.

"I said, 'Oh, my God, sign me up, I'm so excited!'" she recalled. "[It was a] three-episode arc, I get to work with friends, it's great writing, and I miss Alicia."

Margulies was offered a guest-star rate, however, rather than the higher fee she earned on The Good Wife. She decided to speak out after initially deflecting questions about whether she'd play Alicia again, because "I thought, why am I protecting CBS? I said yes, they said no. And you know what? I need to pave the way for the next [actress] coming up.

"Also they were twisting it that I didn't want to be on the show, that I didn't think it was good enough. I watch the show, I love the show. But I'm not a guest star. You don't pay me a guest-star salary. I would get a guest-star salary if I went and did SVU — it's not my show. I wouldn't ask for what I got paid as Alicia Florrick. I also know for a fact that any male star who got asked to go on a spinoff of their show would have been offered at least $500,000. I know that for a fact."

Margulies added that she'd work with CBS again — and is, in fact, developing a project there. "And if they were to ask me to go back on The Good Fight, paying me what my salary is, of course [I would], in a heartbeat," she said. "But you have to value your worth. … This isn't really about me at all. This is about every other actress who doesn't have the voice or power to be able to say that."