Emmy Rossum Has Been Offered Parity With ‘Shameless’ Co-Star William H. Macy — But She Wants More

Emmy Rossum equal pay
Amy Sussman/Invision for GODIVA/AP Images

The future of Showtime’s long-running series “Shameless” is being held up, due to ongoing negotiations with star Emmy Rossum.

Rossum, who’s been a lead on “Shameless” since it debuted in 2011, is in the midst of re-negotiating her contract for a potential eighth season. Sources close to the show tell Variety that months ago, the actress was offered pay parity with her co-star William H. Macy — but she is asking to be paid more.

An insider says Showtime wants to renew the show for Season 8, but won’t proceed until resolving Rossum’s salary. The creative forces behind the dramedy have not even considered a plan for the show to continue without her, our source explains, as all parties involved are hopeful to close negotiations with the actress.

Rossum is demanding equal pay with Macy, after seven seasons of being paid less than him, according to a report published earlier today by the Hollywood Reporter. A source tells Variety she has in fact been offered equal pay. But she is holding out for a bigger salary than Macy to make up for the previous seasons where she was making significantly less than him.

Both Showtime and Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind “Shameless,” declined to comment. Reps for Rossum didn’t immediately respond to Variety‘s calls.

A source close to “Shameless” tells Variety that the network and studio take the income disparity very seriously, but insist that the offer for parity has been on the table for a while and is not being accepted by Rossum’s team. By offering her the same salary as Macy, this person says the network and studio are “clearly acknowledging her importance to the show” and how her role has evolved into a crucial part over the years. “It hasn’t even been contemplated doing the show without her,” adds the source.

Rossum’s salary dispute comes at a time when equal pay has become a prominent conversation in the industry, led by actresses like Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Lawrence.

At the time “Shameless” premiered, Macy, 66, was arguably more well-known than Rossum, 30. Though the actress was coming off of films like “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Phantom of the Opera” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, Macy had already won multiple Emmys, plus had an Oscar nomination, Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

For his work on “Shameless,” Macy has been nominated for three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and won a SAG Award. Rossum has been nominated for two Critics Choice Awards, but never an Emmy, SAG Award or Golden Globe. Awards recognition typically helps actors to negotiate a pay raise.

Rossum has renegotiated her salary since “Shameless” debuted. An insider says she got a significant increase from her original deal several seasons ago, as did Macy. Macy recently closed a new deal for the potential eighth season — the same deal that is now being offered to Rossum.

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  1. Alex Harris says:

    Bill Macy is far and away the star, many acting levels above the much younger, less talented and less experienced Rossum. He has seniority. Frankly, while her role is great, she is somewhat boring as an actress and, not to be harsh, but she is a dime a dozen in Hollywood. Rose Byrne (Damages) would be incredibly superior to Rossum in that role, and would deserve pay on par with Macy. But replace Rossum with a look-a-like ingenue from Hollywoods thousands of this talent pool —and no one will be the wiser.

    • S says:

      Rose Byrne is too old for this role. She feels 10 years older than Emmy, however old either of them are. Emmy rossem feels the right age.

  2. Richard Licker says:

    Just kill her off….There are far more interesting characters on the show that can be developed! :-)

  3. Terry Dillon says:

    Fiona could easily be replaced and the character wouldn’t suffer. Replace Frank and you would just have a void – he’s irreplaceable. Every one of us knows someone like Fiona – someone with her same look on life. So the character isn’t very unique. And the actress that play’s Fiona is less remarkable. She’s been offered the same as a STAR – if she doesn’t take it, replace her – no worries we won’t care.

  4. DP says:

    You are nuts! Without Frank there is NO Fiona, Without his terrible life, his children wouldn’t be in the situations they are in! This show is BASED around FRANK not FIONA, how dumb could you guys possibly be lol. For the record, Macy should be paid more. Theres a thousand actresses that could play Fiona and not one other preson who could play Frank. With that being said he is wayyyyy more experienced than Rossum, so don’t be a bunch of feminazi’s!

  5. Ti says:

    Fiona is the lead character of the show. Shameless IS about her. She was paid much less for playing the bigger role for years. It’s her damn right to demand more to make up for the previous seasons.

    • S says:

      I’m with you. She centers almost every story line in the show. Monica was their mom but Fiona is the matriorichal character on the show. Its too many seasons in to replace her, and people saying everyone knows someone like her, that’s important. That makes her character real and relatable, its why we can connect with her struggles and triumphs much more than Frank’s. While William H Macy is a huge star and I totally understand an initial pay inequity, I think she is more than within her rights to ask for a little more money. She carries the show.

  6. klip says:

    she shows her boobs and is shows more than Macy. she deserves more

  7. Michelle says:

    Really? Should a new grad make the same as someone who is at the job 20 years? Macy exceeds her experience and should be paid more. Just like any job out there, you get paid more for your experience. This isn’t about male/female. Macy is a seasoned actor. I am quite sure she does alright financially. Everyone is Hollywood is grossly overpaid!

  8. SmudgeIt says:

    She worth as much or more. Big part of the show. Macy is ok, but without Fiona the show would not be the same. All great actors and well worth good money. Pay Rossum as much or more all good with me. I doubt I would have watched all 7 seasons if she or any of the other cast had not stayed or changed. Go Fiona. :-)

  9. Hnon says:

    Is her mother / manager back in her life? This sounds like her… she’s freaking nuts.

  10. Eric Fenton says:

    Why the hell would she get the same, no awards and more than William H Macy a renowned actor. Get over yourself. You show your tits and you are a B grade actress

  11. steve says:

    “At the time “Shameless” premiered, Macy, 66, was arguably more well-known than Rossum, 30. ”

    Yeah, ya think?

  12. Tim O'Rourke says:

    Give her the money and then write her out of the show.

  13. Mike Beimer says:

    Granted he was a bigger name at the beginning of the series. However,as a viewer from the start of Shameless,through all its ups and downs, I think the argument can easily be made that the show could go pretty smoothly without the Frank character but hot the Fiona role. During some of the weaker Frank has been often turned unto a cartoon character.Fiona has, for the most , recieved a more realistic treatment from the writers. As a result sheemerges as the centerpiece of the show. Both Macy and Rossum are really excellent actors.

    • S says:

      I like your points about the evolution of the characters. I agree. Frank has been made a joke. There is little attention paid to his humanity, aside from a few moments when Monica died. Frank is a much less relatable character because of it. But Fiona carries the show and is intertwined in the stories of almost all the other characters. I feel after 7 seasons, experience prior to the show no longer weighs on salary negotiations. The show would not have succeeded without her.

  14. I am all for equal pay for equal “celebrity status” but the fact is, she was not an equal to William Macy at the beginning of the series. HE was the star and was paid according to that, not his gender. Even if her stardom has paralleled his now, she’s saying everyone famous that started off a “nobody” should get back pay for all of their work before stardom? RIDICULOUS!

  15. James says:

    Isn’t her character just a plot device to work male guest stars into the show at this point?

  16. Bruce100 says:

    First, I haven’t seen any of the US Shameless, only the UK original. So some observations – at the time paying Macy more made sense – he was a more famous performer than Rossum and he brought with him the cache of having been in some of the best US films of his generation and being one of the best actors around. Whether fair or not, his presence in the show was a guarantee of a certain degree of quality. Rossum’s wasn’t. Plus, his character is more central. You can’t have Shameless without that character. Rossum’s got every right to push for parity, and she appears to have got it. Good for her. But going further, wanting more to make up for the past is pushing it and seems in denial of reality.

    • Nicole says:

      Bruce: In the US version, Rossum’s character is a lot more prevalent than the UK’s version. She’s pretty much the main character now. From my understanding, the UK’s version her character was prevalent in the first 2 seasons and then only seen every now and then in the recent seasons.

  17. GiGii says:

    She got equal pay, and I think that should be sufficient. If you don’t like what you made for the 7 year contract you negotiated, negotiate for a better one in the future. When I get a raise at work, they don’t give me back pay for the time before I got said raise. Come on. This looks greedy, and has put her costars’ jobs in jeopardy, as well as everyone on the crew. I do not think she should make more than WHM simply because she didn’t like her contract pay up until this point. Sorry to say, he did bring viewers with his award nominations and clout. This isn’t about gender, this is about her signing on when she was not as well known as WHM. If she keeps up like this, she will not be a top pick for shows in the future, she will become known as problematic. People sign contracts for a reason, you can’t go in later and say you owe me more than what I AGREED to, because I don’t like the fact that a veteran actor makes/made more than me. Sorry.

    • Yeahright says:

      Except she isn’t changing what she was paid earlier, she is using it as leverage in negotiating a *new* contract.

      It’s the usual case where men are considered “successful” for negotiating as much as they can get (see professional sports!) but women are greedy or “difficult” and should be happy with “parity” even when they have a bigger (current) role in the success of the show.

      This is about her negotiating what she thinks she can get, and seeing who blinks first. I hope both sides are happy with the eventual result.

      • Yuriy says:

        You’re right that there is a big disparity between man and women are viewed when they ask to be paid more, but she is actually putting her own career at stake with this, because they could give her the pay raise and this could be the last time she gets hired for a big role. I don’t think she should try to make up for the money she “lost” in the previous years being paid less, well probably waaay less than WHM. I think she should stick to the parity, be gracious about it, and go on to continue a great career as a team player. This kind of stuff is what gets people blacklisted in Hollywood. All that has to happen is ONE flop and she’s done, all because of this “negotiation”. I do think she should get paid the same as him, and in the future she’ll be able to get more. Also…without winning an emmy for her role, she’s being silly if she thinks what she’s doing is good for her career. People like her come and go in hollywood, they are very disposable…maybe not in this show, but in showbiz very much so… We’ll see what happens to her in a few years, since the show doesn’t have too many seasons left before it wears out its’ welcome on our screens.

  18. Ji says:

    Give her the same deal and a bonus to make up for discriminatory practices and disparity in pay for previous seasons. IMMEDIATELY. And studio “sources” trying to make her look bad – stick a sock in it. Emmy is a great talent as are several of the other women in Hollywood that you’ve shortchanged for years.

    • Ryan L says:

      lmao its not discriminatory for paying her less. William H Macy is an established actor and his pay is to draw an audience, as he is more well known and result in more viewers. Rossum isn’t as well known, so she shouldn’t be paid as much. That’s how supply and demand works.

      • Annie says:

        “Frank” is no longer essential to the show’s success, hasn’t been for the past few seasons, Fiona is the glue that holds it together. She deserved to be equally compensated the past 4 seasons!

  19. modwildtv says:

    Awards nominations or wins should not contribute to salary discussions simply because awards nominations beget awards nominations. People are lazy and would rather nominate those they know already than sit through new work of an unknown to fine new nominations. Don’t even try to say that isn’t true.

  20. Squirrel says:

    Lmao! Those saying kill her off are not true fans/followers of the show. Take her out of the picture and I will never watch again, and I’m positive a lot of people feel that way. Give her everything she asks for or the show will suck.

    She deserves it! WHM disappears for several episodes at a time and she is the glue that holds everything together.

    • Danielle says:

      Absolutely agree! Not to mention all of the nude scenes she does! She deserves equal pay to say the least maybe even more!

  21. David says:

    There is no way that she is on the same level with Macy. Fiona may have been the center of the story the first few seasons. But now that almost all the kids have grown and have their own stories, she is not the center. The writers don’t seem to know what to do with her. If earning equal pay with Macy is not good enough for her, I say drop her. Shameless can do a last season without her. Don’t let her hold up a last season that fans really want.

    • Ryan L says:

      Exactly! Macy is the face of the show, Fiona is just one of the other characters. If she left the show it wouldn’t make a difference to me. If Macy left the show the show wouldn’t be shameless anymore

  22. Candy says:

    As much as she whores herself out to complete strangers, most times not knowing their name…any one of them could be crazy and just kill her..right off the show…problem solved. I personally think the show would be a little better. They could also replace her and keep it moving. Equal pay is pushing it but more pay is crossing the line.

  23. J says:

    Fiona and Ian are the worat 2 in the show. Fiona proves time and again the family is better off without her, the show would be too. Also, she’s way more fucked than frank, she just thinks she’s better than everyone. I believe she’s probably like than in real life

  24. Haz says:

    She deserves the same amount as Macy, no more though. I agree she is the lead, however Macy still brings in the awards recognition. I do think Emmy should have been nominated by now she has done amazing work. However when the show first started Macy was the draw. I think the show is really a great ensemble cast, they all do a lot of heavy lifting. I will say that majority of the articles that have reported this have really made Emmy look bad. They are sort of writing these articles painting a picture of her maybe thinking she is better than the rest of the cast. I don’t think she thinks that though. Fair is fair she has really took the lead since probably season 4 or 5 after Justin Chatwins character left. I do not think she should be paid more than Macy he is consistent getting the show award recognition, but at least the same.

  25. CMarks says:

    Parity seems fair. If she agreed to, accepted and signed contracts for the seven previous seasons than that was possibly a mistake on her part, or bad advice from her agent, but in no way should that justify more than parity now of an equally important lead (male or female). I lost interest about mid point in season four so can’t speak to the current importance of her role but she might be wise to look at the resulting careers (or lack thereof) of actors who have held popular shows hostage to their inflated sense of self-worth.

  26. capearosa says:

    Kill her off….One show does not a career make. Although she does deserve a raise. The Show is nothing without Frank..

  27. Jo Mama says:

    Two things. This show doesn’t deserve an eighth season, so it works itself out. And secondly, who the Hell is Emmy Rossum?

  28. Shane says:

    She totally deserved more and more. For me, Frank character is worthless seasons ago and his story is nothing to me. Except being a terrible person. Just because she doesn’t have a lot of awards/noms, that’s doesn’t really count as big deal.

    People who watched knows better and they sticked around because of the kids storyline. Not the drunk father.

  29. trench0989 says:

    She more than deserves it. Fiona is the central dramatic force that drives the show. Frank could leave and the show probably be better off for it. If you watch Shameless you watch it for her or one of the other kids, you watch it in spite of Frank.

    • Kittymitty says:

      I watch the show and I love Frank she was offered equal pay and she turned it down because she wants more than what William is getting she’s not a household name no way she should be getting more than William H Macy she could be replaced it happens all the time on shows

  30. Marlowe 28 says:

    How about pay parity and, maybe, a bonus to correct some of the disparity for the last couple of years? I’m an ardent supporter of pay parity but I don’t watch the show so my opinion is not wholly informed. William H. Macy is an acting god of sorts and Rossum does not have his acting chops or renown. Obviously, the show requires both original actors to be successful or the producers wouldn’t have offered parity. Macy might even have suggested it because he’s very progressive and his wife, Felicity Huffman, has probably experienced pay discrimination.

    • trench0989 says:

      She doesn’t have his renown but she has the chops. Macy really is an acting god, but Rossum is on his level, there have been many scenes where she absolutely blows him out the water. She truly is an elite level actor.

      Since the first episode Fiona has been the dramatic center of the show. Chloe Webb plays the mother and when her and Macy get together they are amazing. There is a scene when Monica comes back for the first time and Webb and Macy are doing their scene chewing thing then Rossum comes in and blows them both out of the water, its amazing.

      Rossum has constantly been the best thing about Shameless, since the very begining. Her character is essential to the show, most fans would Frank be killed off and Macy go find better parts to play. His character is dead weight at this point. This show could not survive without Fiona/Rossum

  31. Richard Rangel says:

    Drop her, she can easily be replaced with an actress who’s hungrier and who will appreciate her job

  32. Think about it... says:

    Most interesting, is the original character she’s based on was gone after the first season in the U.K. Not essential to the show at all, so it’s cool to see how important she’s become to the U.S. version. Parity is great, but reparations seem ridiculous. She was neither famous as, nor significant as, Macy being part of the show early on, so getting paid accordingly seems absurd.

  33. FATGIRL says:

    Oh, so now salary is based on how many awards you win? I love WHM, but all those nominations/wins weren’t for Shameless alone. Go girl!!

    • Michael Anthony says:

      No, that’s not what it said. Awards add to the cachet and power of the person. Same thing in college, people who publish have more power and earn more. Same in advertising, banking, retail and on and on. Rossum, while essential, has no where near the career recognition Macy does. She’s lucky to get parity in pay, without a major award nom or win. “You go girl” for what? Equality absolutely, but it should also be absolute equality.

      • trench0989 says:

        Rossum is that show, and has been since the first episode, if this were season two and she wanted to be paid more than him, she would be asking to much. But at this point she more than deaerves to be the highest paid actor on it. Macy’s brought people in. But no one sticks around for Frank, Frank is awful, you keep watching because of Fiona or one of the othwe kids.

        Emmy Rossum carries the show and has been doing it for years.

      • Mark says:

        “lucky to get parity,” luck has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what she’s being offered, she’s earned that money and more.

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