X-Files Gillian Anderson Salary Fox

The X-Files' Gillian Anderson Talks 'Shocking' Fight for Revival Salary Equal to Co-Star David Duchovny

It’s been more than two decades since The X-Files debuted on Fox, but series star Gillian Anderson says in one deeply unfortunate way, it feels like no time has passed.

The actress recently revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that her initial salary offer for the upcoming revival, which premieres Sunday, was half of co-star David Duchovny’s.

“Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced,” Anderson says, expounding on the matter in a conversation with The Daily Beast. “It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.”

When the Fox series debuted in 1993, Duchovny had more on-camera experience than relative newbie Anderson and was paid more. But the part of Scully, which Anderson says likely was originally envisioned as Mulder’s “sidekick,” quickly became a co-lead — thanks in part to the actress’ chemistry with Duchovny. As such, Anderson fought for, and eventually received, equity with her co-star’s salary.

But when it came time to negotiate for the revival, she adds, she found herself back at a very frustrating square one.

“It happened again!” Anderson, who won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work in the sci-fi drama, tells the site. (In the THR article, she noted that, “There’s no point in dealing with my side [first] because, as usual, they come to me with half of what they want to offer David.”)

Eventually, both The Daily Beast and THR note, Anderson and Duchovny took home equal pay for the revival.

Are you surprised to hear about Anderson’s salary struggle? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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51 Comments
  1. MissEllys says:

    I understand them paying her lower back in the day, but now it wouldn’t make sense to pay her less, since she’s became a much more acclaimed artist than him.

    • David4 says:

      Yeah when the show started it made sense, but she had gone on to do some killer (pun intended) shows and is a much better / bigger actor than Duchovny.

    • Lucifer says:

      It’s been taken out-of-context to make it seem worse. The pay they were offering her was simply the starting rate, this how it goes with all actors. And of course she was not happy with the amount offered, which is why actors have agents to negotiate terms including pay. It’s all about speaking up, sticking with your word, and having a great agent that will look out for you.

      • LC says:

        If you read the second sentence, it says that her “starting rate,” as you claim, was half of Duchovny’s.

      • Sara says:

        I disagree that it is taken out of context to seem worse. The fact is that for the revival her starting point for negotiation should have been equal to David Duchovny’s starting point.

        • Lucifer says:

          The fact is we don’t know what Duchovny’s starting rate was. Anderson is comparing her starting rate to the finalized one Duchovny and his agent negotiated with the network.

          • Katya says:

            “…they come to me with half of what they want to offer David.”

          • Lucifer says:

            @Katya: “Once again, Anderson was being offered “half” of what they would pay Duchovny.”

            Which is the author’s wording on The Daily Beast. We don’t know for sure if Gillian was offered half of what David was because it sure sounds like he made his negotiations first. And even if she was offered less than David was, it was because the studios and networks are sleazy and try to lowball everyone by giving them the lowest amount they feel they can get away with. That is why it is important to have a good agent that will fight for your rightful pay.

          • BillyBobJohnson says:

            The point is, there should never have been an offer half of whatever Duchovny settled on. If he was signed first, then the first, and only, offer to her should have been equal. Case closed.

      • David Conrad says:

        Easy there, Satan.

      • A fan of TV says:

        The starting rate for co-leads on this should have been equal, that’s the point. Note that Friends always negotiated together, ensuring equality which kept the show on longer for those who loved watching. The context is clear – both actors were offered different starting rates and you better believe this happens to all women, with studio execs hopeful they’ll just ‘be happy working’ and agree to it.

        • Lucifer says:

          As another commenter pointed out below, we don’t know the full story. She was not very clear on it and she actually is more vague about the context in the interview on TDS. And excuse me if I don’t believe this happens to all women in the industry automatically especially when other recent claims have been proven to be blatant lies (Sarah Silverman) or false equivalencies (Jennifer lawrence). If we found out what the initial offers were for both, along with which one finalized their salary first and such then I would be more confident in claiming this was sexism or not. But I’m sorry, I’m not going to throw out a word like that unless there is absolute proof and not just because she’s a woman and suggests it is so.

          • Lucifer says:

            TDB*

          • A fan of TV says:

            Well worded but, I’m sorry, garbage. You are very quick to believe that pay equity is overblown, as this suits your own bias that celebrities already make so much that it’s not worth the argument, but not quick to accept that actresses do the same job actors do (they put out the same product) and should be paid equitably for it.

            It’s a false assumption that women and men in Hollywood are not equal, supported by the reality that the industry is dominated by men, even though there is no proof at all that men can do things women can’t and deserve more base pay (even though they get it). Using Silverman’s case to support your opinion is as anecdotal as she was being when she said it, because you’re using a single instance of something exaggerated to back up your bias that this issue is not relevant or overblown. That is exactly the same and equally frustrating in its ignorance.

            The facts are that, no matter the industry, women make less than men for the same work, and considering that money is the single most valuable tool in gaining or weilding any power at all, its criminal that women are still trying to catch up to a world that, less than 100 years ago, didn’t even see them as legal persons, let alone valuable contributors to society. Using your biases to dismiss the issue is a clear example of why women have to speak out, and why, no matter what individual anecdotal stories may say or not say or how you feel about them personally, pretending pay equity is a non-issue is wrong.

          • BillyBobJohnson says:

            Doesn’t matter who was offered what and when, whether it was a starting point or final offer. All amounts should have been equal between the two of them. Period.

          • Patrick J says:

            The full story is that they were both offered different amounts of money. I’ve researched plenty of articles on the subject and they did indeed offer David higher from the get go.. Get your facts straight you sound like a babbling idiot fighting everybody on this issue.

        • Mor Sunves says:

          Go read the response to Jada Pinkett’s boycott. The Fresh Prince stars didn’t negotiate together. It’s not a requirement. It’s a courtesy to people you work with. Do you think Ed O’Neill and Jesse Tyler Ferguson should have had the same salary on Modern Family? They don’t. Because they’re not the same person, they have had different careers, and they have established different quotes. This is only a real issue if these were two unknowns, but they aren’t. They negotiate based on what they feel they’re worth. Not their co-stars salaries.

          • A fan of TV says:

            I never said they had to negotiate together, I said they did, which you acknowledge is a courtesy. No one negotiates together when something begins, but when you’ve worked on something with someone in the past and are equally responsible for the success of a show, its better form hands down. Regardless, the producers should be paying co-leads of a show the same.

    • herman1959 says:

      Thank you! This just goes to show that in the is so-called post-feminist (and post-racial) age, you have to keep on’ em. Good for her.

  2. eviloverlore says:

    Really glad she’s letting people know what happened. Equally glad she won equity. Sheesh, are we ever going to get out of the 1800s?

  3. CAN says:

    Number 10 made me laugh out loud!

  4. Pamela says:

    Crazy, I shouldn’t be surprised but I am.

  5. thisismenow says:

    Gillian Anderson is the only reason to watch most of the episodes. I’m glad she has equal pay at this point. David is a decent actor and I love Mulder, but there were more times than not where Gillian’s portrayal of Dana Scully was far above the caliber of acting of most people on the show. She’s a truly gifted actress.

  6. daviddavid says:

    would be interesting to hear chris carter’s take on this; am quite sure he wanted equal pay for both

  7. CountryQueen says:

    How disgusting! I’m so glad she is letting the world know about this terrible discrimination. How can people, in 2016, still think it’s no big deal that women are paid less, and by people I mean politicians who vote against it?

  8. Leigh says:

    Gillian was the only reason I watched this and why I’ll watch the upcoming miniseries, despite Carter’s awful writing of ep 1. It’s beyond infuriating and maddening that some people are not mad enough about it!

  9. Keith says:

    It doesn’t really surprise me. But its not about gender bias. David Duchovny has had much more exposure in the past two decades and she has had a lot less except for Hannibal and a few bit parts. It all comes down to who people will recognize more and where they can save money. I’m glad she negotiated equal pay though.

    • Keith says:

      David Duchovny has either starred written or produced in 39 movies well Gillian Anderson has done 32 almost a negligible amount except for David Duchovny TV series Californication which had a few seasons and was received very well

    • ScottJ says:

      David’s done around 50 hours of television in that time, most of it on one show. Gillian’s done around 80 hours on something like 12 shows. I see her all the time in things, never see him.

    • Katya says:

      Gillian has kept herself busy on a multitude of mediums, including in Europe. David has done Kalifornia on Sho time and that’s all I know of his work. Gillian co-wrote a novel, did stage, starred in The Fall (which is INCREDIBLE), Hannibal, Crisis, hell she even did an ep of Robot Chicken. But ya maybe fox wanted to save money and they figured the female star should be happy to get paid at all, wouldn’t surprise me.

  10. Astrea says:

    Why is it that a significant number of Gillian Anderson’s fans can’t comment about any aspect of The X-Files without throwing out that Ms. Anderson is the best actress that ever existed since the dawn of time and Mr. Duchovny is the worst actor ever. Insecure much? Jeez…I feel like I’m back in the 90’s again. Will we ever grown up?

    The show was a success because of BOTH Duchovny and Anderson!

    And on topic… Good for Gillian that she fought for, and won, equal pay! She deserves no less.

  11. ? says:

    I dunno, we’re only hearing one side here. We don’t know, for example, that her starting offer was half of David’s STARTING offer. Maybe he just finished negotiations first, and her starting offer was half of his agreed-on salary. She got salary parity, so the network clearly saw her as an equal. And anyway, it’s the network’s job to drive as hard a bargain as it can (and the actor’s reps to do the same). We can’t really condemn anyone involved based on the information provided–all we really know from this is that she was paid equally to David when all was said and done.

  12. Steve says:

    I assumed it all came down to experience – I know David was in several other shows/movies since the original went off air. But I don’t know anything of Gillian and her career afterwards. I do feel there should be equal pay – but equal pay with equal experience.

    • herman1959 says:

      Gillian has also been in “several other shows/movies…” and on a global scale (not so with David). She is also more highly thought of as a serious actor; maybe she should have gotten MORE.

    • S. says:

      You could do some research, you know. IMDb isn’t just 4 letters you can use toward solving the puzzle in the final round of Wheel of Fortune. Hannibal, The Fall, and War and Peace all acclaimed and that’s just recently. Bleak House got her Emmy and Golden Globe noms. W&P is airing in the US now but it was a huge success in the UK and will undoubtedly rake in the Emmy noms in the fall in the miniseries category. Arguably, her career is hotter right now. David’s extraordinary too, but it’s particularly odd they would think she could be low-balled. They have to have her for the show and she’s in the catbird seat. You can negotiate sure, but that was downright insulting.

      • Mor Sunves says:

        They’re paying them the same in the end. Nobody gives a crap that she was in War and Peace and Hannibal. Go look at the posters and tell me where you see her. Nowhere. She’s not even top 3 on the call sheet. Because she’s not as big of a draw in terms of advertisers and her roles are smaller. Who do you think pays for TV to exist? It’s advertisers. Go look up Duchovny’s credits on IMDb. You may notice that the posters of Californication and Aquarius are him. It’s because HE’S A BANKABLE STAR. I like that you added Robot Chicken as if someone might think “Oh yeah, she’s the one that voiced an action figure in a 10 minute show. Back up the money truck.” Sexism in Hollywood is misrepresented by situations like this. She’s just not a star.

  13. Drew says:

    It made sense for them to pay her less when the show started. So I’m not going to complain about sexism there.
    In order to get the full picture on this issue, we would need to know the timeline. When did she get this offer, compared to when David got his offer? Is she comparing his starting offer with her offer, or is she comparing what he actually signed on for with what they offered her to start? David might not even know what the initial offer was, if his agent negotiated more. So I would need to know what actually happened here before I get all upset.
    People today are too quick to jump on the bandwagon of outrage over perceived discrimination. Sometimes being treated equally means being treated like crap.

  14. TV Gord says:

    That’s ridiculous! She’s the main reason I stayed with the show, certainly not for her dullard of a co-star.

  15. Carol says:

    Pay people what they deserve. Stop playing with lives people women need their money!

  16. peterwdawson says:

    I really hate when this comes in shows where the female lead is absolutely essential. It of course sucks in general but it really feels baffling under these kind of circumstances so I’m glad they worked it out.

  17. Nero tTVFiddler says:

    Good for her. The initial pay offered was the bad news – the good news is that she (and her agent) had the leverage they needed. It is a shame they had to use that leverage, but that happens.

    Bottom line – without Gillian Anderson (as well as DD), there’s no show. Who would watch this new set of episodes without either GA or DD? No one. The network and production house know that. So, both stars have leverage and power (as it should be), and they need to exercise that, and successfully did. Good for GA!

  18. Steve says:

    If any of you had seen her at Dragon Con a few years ago would have little respect for her. Didn’t know anything or have any respect for her character on X-files. Worst celebrity i have ever seen live.

  19. Of course I’m not surprised. We’re talking about Fox. (The t.v.station, not Mulder.)

  20. johnny says:

    Some major bullcrap that is. Why? Because she’s a woman? She rightfully deserves the equal pay. Shame on them for even attempting to give her less.

  21. BillyBobJohnson says:

    Hollywood is run by a bunch of old, cheap, white guys. They’ll nickel and dime you to death, especially if you’re a woman (the “pushovers” in their minds). They’d all still rather see women barefoot and pregnant in their 1950s mentality. Some of these guys just naturally hate women because their “preferences” are elsewhere. Truth hurts.

  22. joe says:

    If someone is saying anderson is less of a star than whatshisname,I can`t see it.I saw his staring roles once and didn`t want to see his rerun.maybe it`s someone incharge doesn`t like her or really likes him.

  23. Andreia says:

    I’m not at all surprised. I work in a male dominated field and was shocked to discover gender bias and male chovanysm is very much alive and well. Apparently progress and evolution is as slow as lava.

  24. Paul Hurford says:

    If either Gillian Anderson, or David Duchovny were absent from the X-Files from the beginning, it would have most likely failed as a series. To not (like after Season 1) remunerate them equally is totally unjustified, and morally inexcusable. To top that off, to not even offer them both the same salary for the Revival is IMO criminal. Scully & Mulder make a whole – offering one of them half the pay, is half-Assed.

  25. Hamish Burger says:

    I am more worried about the woman on minimum wage getting paid less than the man on minimum wage if they are doing the same job, not an actor getting $3 million instead of $6 million. Do you people think you will ever see that sort of money? You get so emotional over an actor you like, as opposed to the young woman working in a bakery getting half what the man working next to her is making. But that would be illegal in an employment sense. In a business or contractor sense, which is what actors are, then it’s up to them to negotiate. And why would a company offer something if they can make more profit by offering less? I think Gillian is empowered enough to negotiate harder than the woman on minimum wage. Storm in a tea cup.