“I though, ‘Why am I protecting CBS?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ they said, ‘No.’ And you know what? I need to pave the way for the next one coming up,” Margulies, 52, told SiriusXM’s Jessica Shaw in an interview that’s set to air on Thursday, May 23. “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.”
The ER alum — who starred as Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife for its entire run from 2009 to 2016 — explained that she was thrilled when the network approached her about returning for a three-episode role on the show’s spinoff, which premiered in 2017. Margulies noted, “The head of CBS called and said, ‘Is it true that you’ll do this?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely. 100 percent. You’ll have to make it worth my while, but 100 percent. I’m so excited.’”
However, the network would not pay her what she felt she deserved. “I wasn’t asking for $1 million. I wasn’t asking for $500,000 an episode. I was asking for what I got paid on The Good Wife,” she revealed. “So, a spinoff on my show to play a character that created that show, was asking for what she should get paid and it wasn’t asking for the moon.”
Marguiles added, “I also know, for a fact, that any male star who was asked to come on a spinoff of their show would’ve been offered at least $500,000.”
Ultimately, the Emmy Award winner is “not angry” at CBS, but wants all women to know an important message: “You have to value your worth. This isn’t really about me at all — this is for every other actress who doesn’t have the voice or the power to say that.”
The Hot Zone actress revealed in April that the network came up with a way “to reintroduce [her] character,” but “wouldn’t pay” her fairly. She later asserted that her decision not to return was not about the salary.
“I don’t need the money. That’s not what it’s about, that’s not what it’s about at all,” she told E! News earlier this month. “I am so sick to death of women not being treated the same as men in our industry. And I am at a place in my career where that shouldn’t ever happen. It’s not that I want more than so-and-so, it’s that I want equal. I’m not angry, I’m really not.”
Marguiles’ full interview with Shaw will air on SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio Thursday, May 23, at 9 a.m. ET.
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