K-ent Reports that Kim Soo Hyun Sets New Record in K-drama Pay for One Ordinary Day, Female Actresses Remain Woefully Underpaid Compared to Actors

Another year another record I guess, and once again the headliner is top Hallyu actor Kim Soo Hyun. For his starring role in the upcoming drama One Ordinary Day (That Night), he is reportedly paid $500 million won per episode, which is 2.5x higher than what he got paid for his last drama It’s Okay to Not be Okay. Conversely the article reports that the actresses are still hitting the glass ceiling in pay. Kim Hee Ae got $80 million won per episode for The World of the Married and the one actresses to break $100 million won per episode are Jeon Ji Hyun, Song Hye Kyo, Lee Young Ae, and Son Ye Jin, no other actresses can break that mark. But it’s different for actors as many are getting paid over $100 million won per episode including Bae Yong Joon, So Ji Sub, Lee Byung Hun, Hyun Bin, Lee Seung Gi, Song Joong Ki, Lee Min Ho, and Park Bo Gum. And the most recent addition to that actor group includes Lee Je Hoon who got over $100 million won per episode for Taxi Driver. The article further discusses what goes into an actor/actress pay: box office, ratings, buzz, and domestic as well as international popularity. So because the audience for K-dramas remain overwhelmingly female viewers, it’s the actors who are the “money trees” that bring in viewers so that is why their pay is so much higher.


K-ent Reports that Kim Soo Hyun Sets New Record in K-drama Pay for One Ordinary Day, Female Actresses Remain Woefully Underpaid Compared to Actors — 89 Comments

  1. Also popular rookie actors and some very popular male idols can get 100M/episode. LBH is S list he’ll probably get around 200-250M if not more. Since LJH gets 100M would not be surprised if RJY is getting the same for his upcoming drama. The article also mentioned some actor who did his first lead role in 2019 is already getting 100M/episode.

  2. It’s so sad that even females don’t support their own gender. Back in my university days, my management at a retail store was 2 females. One day my male coworker comes to me and complain how little we are getting pay and he happen to mentioned his pay which was $2 more than me (Keep in mind, I’m a fashion design student, that is my field, he his younger than me had no experiences, and I’ve been working there longer as well). Then me and my cousin also had this discussion, she stated that both her and her husband were hired at the same time for the same position (at the same company) and he also got offer about $2 more than her (shake my head).

    In KSH’s case, I’m glad that he is being called out because just a few years ago, the articles would only be about praising him for being the only star to command that much. Production company need to take better care of the people behind the scene because they are also the biggest reason to make those star’s project as successful as they are.

    • Sigh ??. Meanwhile in my country our pay not only difference in gender but races as well. Certain races get higher salary even though they have no experience when they start working. Its a bit sad you know.

    • You’re glad he’s being called out? For what? Being paid what the producers and investors want to pay him? Sounds like you’re projecting your personal issues on him. He’s not responsible for your shitty pay or S-tier actresses not getting their deserved due. Take it out on the shotcallers and big kahunas who make those decisions, starting with your boss.

      • Essentially articles are calling out the unequal (huge pay grade) in Kdrama land between women/men. You have missed the bigger issue here, this is not about KSH anymore. Look around, people are fighting for equal pay and trying to eliminate being discriminated against gender/race and here you are making it my issues only as the source of the problems.

        You don’t even need to be in their shoe to understand.

  3. Although shk has bigger star power & even delivered more hits compared to some of the names here, i can’t say i’m surprised to see her being paid less than the actors. It’s unfair but it’s not something that can be changed overnight. Actors will keep getting paid a lot more than actresses and that’s how it’s gonna be for many more years to come.

    One thing i’m curious about tho..if their project flops, will the payment rate also decrease or will it stay the same?

    • Actresses definitely have to take a pay cut if their project flops not sure about actors because they generally have more star power and longevity. Like kth had to take a pay cut after jang ok jung flopped but yai was unaffected. Also syj could never get paid as much as taejihye because she’s considered less popular than them so if taejihye gets 100 then she will be 90 or something like that.

      • SYJ pretty much solidified her status through her hit movies especially the in the past decade. If she gets paid as much as TaeHyeJi it’s likely because of tv producers hoping she can take her box office pull to TV. I’d like to think Jeon Do Yeon was also paid handsomely (for an actress at least) too for her new drama because of the prestige her movie star status brings to the drama.

      • SYJ brings in more box office $$ than the names you mentioned so it’s not a stretch to believe TV networks and producers would have to pay her well in dramas too.

    • Exactly thats my question too @Nad

      Well to be honest Korea is a really patriarchal society so this will go on. I hope this will change

    • Song joong ki price tag higher 200-300M won more than song hye kyo even after biggest flop artdhal chronicle his price won’t go down.Unbelieveble.

    • I read in SCMP that JCW entered this league after K2 but suffered a huge cut after China closed its market since it is one of his huge fan base. Pierce Conran wrote the article about this exactly what Koala wrote down.

  4. It reminds me an episode of Abnormal Summit. They discussed the fact if the salary should be known by everyone or not. It was pretty funny because when they offered to tell the salary from the pannel, they were less motivated.

    I’m not surprised by this news, it’s the same at Hollywood. Chadwick Boseman took on his own salary to pay more Sienna Miller for the movie 21 Bridges.

    Agents should fight more for their actresses.

    • Big respect to Chadwick Boseman for doing that, the studio refused to pay Sienna appropriately so he told then to take the amount out of his salary to make their pay equal.

      It really shows his character, not many people would actually make that kind of sacrifice in the name of closing the gender pay gap.

      (It exists in all industries, to a shameful extent, and only got wider with corona. The only field where it’s weighted in favour of women is fashion modelling…where careers are usually over by age 25)

      • Chadwick was an amazing human being in almost every way, losing him really hit hard. May he RIP.

    • Big respect to him, RIP Chadwick Boseman.

      One more thing, after paying the cast with huge amount, how about the staff and the crew, they all remain unpaid or underpaid. The prod house will do cutting here and there.

      These is another issue here. One is about the equality between actors and actresses and two is the people behind the film and drama making. Who would forget what happened to Arthdal Chronicles that the crew sued the production house Studio Dragon because they were not paid or underpaid and they were dragged to works for so many hours.

      I just hope these issue will be addressed somehow and in someway with positive result.

  5. Makes sense. But actresses make money elsewhere: CFs, magazines, tv show guesting. It may be the agency’s job to negotiate for equal pay, but at the end of the day it’s the production and investors who makes the decisions.

    • Actors (male) also do loads of cfs, shoots and tv show guestings so that’s not exactly “compensation” for actresses.

      And sure it’s the production and investors who make these decisions about pay….we are just saying they are sexist decisions that value women (even those who are proven ratings draws) less than men with nowhere near their experience and star power, or value women even less than males of similar experience and fame levels.

      • “We are just saying… blah blah blah…” Sure, Jan. As if you getting your panties in a twist about this on some random K-drama blog is going to change anything. They are sexist? You just realized this? Wow, what a breakthrough! You must be new to the world. Welcome.

      • @Whateve – having a tantrum because koala dared to point out an injustice and we counter attempts to dismiss it, wow, how mature of you.

    • @Ace

      Fully agree with you. If those producers and investors are willing to shell out that kinda cash, why should the recipient actors be blamed? Not their fault.

  6. This is not credible in fact it is the same source from 2013 just being reposted on reply by some sections and quite the misinformation to be fairly honest coming from someone whos KSH fan almost 80% of the mentioned actors don’t reveal salaries and initially this report is based on a 2013 report that has been recycled ever since on top of KSH’s new salary so what they initially did is take KSH’s salary and put on top of that same recycled report from 2013. Soong Jong-ki, Hyun Bin, Lee Min-Ho and Jun-ji-hyun are classified and never released to public mediaplay. Jun Ji-hyun makes most than majority of the males easily in the range of 300-400m whereas LMH makes 1-billion Won per episode and Song Jong-ki is significiantly higher than what the original 2013 repoer had him on and around that 300-400m won range and as for Hyun bin I would guess around 200-300m won ball-park.. KSH making 500m Won seems quite legit there is no argument there but the report it bases the others on is from an outdated 2013 report that was not even credible itself

    • How is this possible though? With a budget of 20bn, for LMH for example, 1bn X 16 ep = 16bn, that’s 80% of production cost. Even with 500mn, it’s still 40% of production cost for a lead actor alone, it’s still crazily high.

  7. Ksh with his mediaplay forever. Like once he claimed he earned 81 million usd. Who is robert downey jr infront of ksh rofl

    Btw koalas do ur research. Lmh is getting paid 1 billion won per epi of apple plus series. Which has production over 100 million usd. But u wont see him mediaplaying his income . Bcoz he runs his own agency with sister and they keep it low. Ksh is mediaplay God
    Lmh has been highest paid since city hunter days. Difference between real rich and a show off

    • Wait kiddo. So let me get this straight. LMH is soooo low profile yet somehow you know with authority he makes 1 billion won (or whatever comes in your mind) amount? ? okay. Sure. Whatever floats your boat.

      Anyway general comment: it sucks that actresses don’t make as much as actors. It’s not a fan war between which oppa makes more ?. No one effin cares. This is about inequality which is a social issue and not just my-oppa-is-better-than-your-oppa BS.

      • Actresses dont bring overseas revenue like men to
        Bae yong joon was reason winter sonata became a 2 billion dollar merchandise business. Even choi ji woo benefited from it. Buying building left right
        If my male client bring more money i will pay him more
        At same time i wouldve paid angelina jolie more than chris hemsworth bcoz she is more business.
        Social issues out of nthng use common sense

      • Awww Ady, you’re asking someone to use common sense? YOU? Who can’t even form a proper sentence that a 5th grader could. Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

        Lol get out of here ?

      • Aww i made a proper point of how your unnies dont bring overseas salea like oppas. Which u couldnt counter
        Using emojis wont make u funny. U didnt have any answer? business isnt about social justice. Even ran a business or busy wanking in mommys basement??

    • Can you lmh stans stop trying to derail a post about a serious and shameful social issue (the gender pay gap) with bragging about your oppa’s salary?

      Cause earning that much compared to actresses of equal or greater stature doesn’t make your oppa look great either.

      • Well not my fault if unnies cant demand overseas sales like him
        It’s business. Oppas bring more money and get more profit get it
        Business is not about your feelings

      • @koala you can see IP addresses in your blog, can you please do us all a favour and find a way to block this particular tantrum-thrower with multiple ids?

        I don’t care about some warped-mind fangirl but swearing and namecalling other commenters is just not behaviour that should be tolerated.

      • Aww royal aunty couldnt see people taunting n name calling me. But saw my replues. What a hippo!

    • Looks like that adyjunjihyun brat with her multiple usernames, multiple accounts, atrocious English and awful attitude is back like a bad penny.

      • @empreyean She is really back and instead the social issue is the subject here, her annoying attitude makes the headline. Lol.

      • Social issues? Business doesnt care about social justice
        Angelina jolie gets paid more than men bcoz she sells more
        The day ur unnies can command overseas sales like men, they will get paid more
        Bae yong joon was reason winter sonata became smash and choi ji woo benefited from it.
        Its not my fault ur dunb asses brains filled with sjw cant comprehend simple business

  8. I’m curious if HB and SYJ were paid the same rate for CLOY? Both being top actors and since they were ‘close’ even then (heh), could they not negotiate their rates together? I did notice HB got top billing in credits even though I think SYJ is technically his senior.

    I think some actors don’t disclose their pay so these lists may not be totally accurate.

  9. Same thing all over the world . Unfair when you compare the longetivity of SHK, SYJ,… more than 20 years in the field and they gain less . Not to mention that the career of an actress is shorter than their male counterpart . They should fight but they know that’s useless as they is plethora of rookies who are waiting

    • Not just that if you see mega stars like SHK or SYJ in tv you’ll see them opposite rookie or rising stars like JKY and JHI or washed up B lister like YWJ for the new SYJ drama. However mega stars like LBH, GY and PSJ get movie starlets KTR, KGE and KDM respectively or A lister like HJM or BDN. You’ll never see a LBH or GY with any of the upcoming rookie tv actresses. The double standards are huge even without the pay gap. Women are valued much lower than men irrespective of their seniority or status.

      • SHK declined offer with A-lister Ju Jihoon in that legal drama which end up being offered to kim hyesoo. Not everything is about misogyny

  10. 500m won is about $442K usd. Wow, KSH will earn a cool $7m usd for 16 eps. That’s an insane amount of money for K-drama standards.

    • his current drama s only 6/8 epi though; thus, project wise he is getting more or less d same as his IOTNBO rate, which makes sense no?

  11. Totally unfair for female actresses. Not surprising news, in general there is gender pay gap in every industry all over the world. Kudos to some actors in Hollywood who demand the studios to pay their co-star actresses fairly.

  12. With that insane amount of pay, are they really worth the money?

    Do production companies doesnt care with tv ratings? Do they also earn more from distributions from OTT services like netflix thats why some paychecks have skyrocketed?

  13. I’m more curious about how much the younger actresses are getting paid. Suzy was reported in 2017 that she got 70 Millon per episode for WYWS so does that mean she got 80 Million for Start-up? Unless her rates stayed stagnant which I doubt. Do trendy actresses like Suzy and IU get paid the same as older veterans like KHA? SYJ is another mystery because she feels less prominent than JJH, KTH and SHK despite being a box office queen. She barely has any endorsements compared to HB and the massive success of CLOY and rarely appears in magazines. Is it because she’s not pretty by Korea standards? But even KGE has more endorsements than her.

    • Isn’t Son Yejin a Valentino local BA? Maybe she’s just pickier in endorsements. But anyway I am curious too about how much actresses and idols actually get, I remember asking Lydia1 about it several weeks back haha she said it’s true actresses get paid less but the figures are underreported while for actors they are higher in mediaplay than actual figures

    • Agreed about syj she hardly gets endorsements. Remember after YFAS and DOTS both jjh and shk were everywhere. They had all kinds of endorsements jjh was even endorsing water in china but obviously that isn’t possible anymore but still agreed after CLOY hb is everywhere but syj is barely visible but jjh her drama hasn’t even released yet she has so many new endorsements and shk with chaumet and fendi come out in magazines often. Even kth has many new endorsements after HBM but syj is rarely seen.

      • SYJ is actually doing a lot of endorsements since CLOY, the most prominent being Valentino and Smart Communciations for Phillipines as well as many local Korean endorsements.

        She has always been picky about what she accepts. There was an article after the Smart ads that she and HB were offered even more $ from other companies, but only chose to do a joint ad with Smart because they worked with them previously. She doesn’t take everything offered to her.

      • Son Yejin recently did an ad for AHC (a Korean brand) for the Chinese market, is the face of a Chinese beauty brand, and was on the cover of the first Chinese edition of Glass Magazine UK wearing Valentino which she is a brand ambassador so it’s still possible for SK actresses to endorse products in China.

      • You can’t compare JJH to SYJ who needs hit dramas and movies to snag endorsements. JJH hasn’t had a drama since 2017 but still managed to get 6 new endorsements just this year and is the GA for Alexander McQueen. SHK is SHK no words needed.

      • Isac:

        Or u just dont follow her so you dont really know what’s happening to her. She may not be in the league of KTH JJH and SHK but SYJ established her sophisticated career especially in Chungmuro. She has the Classic, and A Moment to Remember movies that until now are acclaimed films. Well truthfully CLOY gave her name internationally buy still she has the long list of films and holding box office hit films in Chungmuro. She is first hailed as the Nation’s First Love before Suzy. She aint rarely seen as you are claiming.

    • Clearly people on here doesn’t do lots of research on Son Yejin.She has been picky with her endorsement since the beginning even until now…SMART people even mentioned it last year how picky she is.About Magazine etc,you should read her 2018 Interview where she said she’s not into modelling or photoshoot.Yejin said it’s not her thing.She focuses more on being an actress…a versatile actress that’s why she’s different.The only reason Intl fans or just people in here calling her the least popular,it’s also because she’s more of a movie actress than kdrama actress plus she doesn’t picked similar roles all the time too.Yes she’s not as popular internationally because for all the reason above but she’s so well respected in Korea it’s not even funny.People shouldn’t even questioned why she’s the highest paid actress too when she even won Baeksang Best Actress (Both for Drama and Movie) and let’s not forget she’s a chungmuro actress too.And her not being ‘Korean Beauty Standard’ is the funniest thing I read today when she’s actually even one of the official nation first love and how people were so inlove with her visuals especially back during AMTR and Classic Era.Just because there’s other actresses that are more beautiful than her (which btw Beauty is also about preference),doesn’t mean her visual is not loved by the koreans.She’s actually one of the Actress who has more Male Fans than Female Fans in Korea.Anyway,Please do more research on Son Yejin…then you’ll understand more of her situation ??

      • These int’l fans are funny. They think SYJ is only known now due to CLOY and don’t understand her career. She is one of few (like less than a handful) actresses in S.Korea who is both a box office draw and gets critical acclaim and awards for her works. And they talk about endorsements like that’s more important than acting projects and talent? She has it all in spades. CLOY just gave her the extra int’l popularity she was lacking previously.

      • Lol. I’m laughing at those comments about ‘Son Ye Jin rarely seen’. Errr.. maybe because you guys just don’t follow her enough?

        At least do some research before writing. But I do understand what they are aiming for with those comments anyway. Nothing new with the commenters here when it comes to Son Ye Jin

    • All i just want to say is that oppa Lee minho is more popular than all Korean actors and actress combined.. He is their daddy. The highest paid ever.. if you don’t like it, go and hit your head in a wall… It won’t change the fact

      That is all.. Goodbye

      • That’s right. Producers and casting directors better have something special on the plate (ie: cheese) for him to even consider their project. NO cheese, no deal!

  14. Hahaha… What a HUMBLE statement from Lee Min Ho ‘s fan? ??????

    Is that you adyjunjihyunbtslmh?

      • Yup more than ur sasta hero who calimed he got paid more than robert downey jr??
        Apple plus gave lmh billion won per epi. Where as ur oppa busy filmed sex movies with young idols and cried losing money?

  15. Where is lydia?I wonder lee min ho price tag will going down or not after flop king eternal ppl?How about song joong ki after flop artdhal chronicle i think his price tag going down too.Wonder if sbs still want work with him again after back to back flop lotbs and tkem.I dont think lmh will choose tv cable since kim soo hyun drama only get 4-5% rating despite tvn luring him a lof of money.

    • I didn’t wanna comment on this fake news. Use your discretion. Just 8 weeks ago korean news media reported his “unparalleled salary” dropped by the drama production house at 400 million won an ep (USD335k) and suddenly it goes up by another 100mil 2 months later??? Mediaplay or simply fake news, go figure. Its so dumb and not even worth commenting. Kim So Hyun is already drawing close to what Suzy made for WYWS. What makes you think those actresses in the s-league are paid peanuts? Its true its unlike the men’s salaries but its also not that pittance in article. One whole load of rubbish. And yes LMH still highest paid but there will be an announcement before end of the year of a new project coupling up 2 S-league superstars. Not sure what those monies will be that signed on those 2. Positioning will likely change again.

      • Since when is entertainment news all trust worthy and since when do reporters refrain from reporting rumours. I swear some LMH stans have an inferiority complex when it comes to this topic.

      • I am not a LMH stan. Can’t stand his acting and never completed a single one of his dramas either. Completely overrated – yes I agree. But does my opinion matter in content distribution? No. Investors hiring him at unparalleled dollars which I think they are stupid – They think otherwise. Does he help producers to recoup, for sure. TKEM might be loss making/breakeven for SBS who paid for some of the production cost to have domestic airing rights and ad revenue due to its less than stellar ratings. But it made big monies for Studio Dragon and throw in global content distribution from other airing platforms. Its kachink all the way to the bank.

      • For a non stan, you sure kiss his arse. I get it, he’s attractive to investors, but so are a lot of other actors, many who can actually act.

      • So how much do Suzy and IU get paid now? And how much are the younger actresses making these days? What is the gap between the male and female stars in the 20s? Bringing up the SYJ argument that some people made before is it true some stars don’t want to do ads and magazine shoots? Wouldn’t it better publicity to be in the public eye often? BP girls are almost always in mags these days.

      • @Kandy

        It’s true that some actors don’t want to do photoshoots that much. Unless they have promotions to do like movie release etc. There are bunch of chungmuro A-listers who you don’t see on mags or cfs much. A lot of them.

      • Blackpink members are ambassadors of luxury brands and are fashion darlings they’ll always get magazine covers and photoshoots individually and as a group haha i read during the KJH/Shigan fiasco that photoshoot promos are optional so it depends on the actors i guess

      • @Lydia

        Hmmmmm,who would be that 2 S-league superstars?

        GY and SHK
        LBH and JJH
        SJK and SYJ

        Lol! I am excited. That’s all.

    • Why would it when the article just proved that producers don’t care about actors’ previous works not living up to expectations just as long as they can get a big name attached to their project.

      • They are also not dumb in killing their production budget. I am super annoyed with KSH articles these days cos its always salary blah blah blah. Other artists sometimes put in confidentiality clause on that precisely because these things are sensitive and confidential then you have this odd one out EVERY project… loud speaker gets taken out. How about mediaplay instead on CFs? Top artistes – BTS/BP/Hyun Bin/Park Seo Joon/Han Seo Hee/IU/Suzy. Thats where advertisers are placing their bets on after their market study.

      • Am I the only one that looks forward more to the actresses than to the actors? Like, follow more the female stars I find talented and beautiful. Or simply won’t watch something if I don’t think it’s good?

  16. Some of those stars for sure love to be the most cringe level of cheesy with their attempts to look “bigger and more relevant”…

  17. I’m interested actually how much they pay former child actresses or actors. lydia1 had once mentioned that kim sohyun was paid abt 60 million. is it still like this or already change? how abt yeo jingoo, kim yoojung, kim hyanggi and others? I’ve feeling that they pay jingoo and hyanggi higher

    • Lydia1 is lee min ho stan.She always mention lee min ho is high paid actor in south korea or only hallyu actor that can bring investor in drama.Yeah just like that.

      • Stan – lol. I only know of this word in 2017 from BTS armies who are pro “OT7” and against “solo stans” in the millions of tweets generated. 2 decades in this business and now I too have stan status. Hoorah! Feels good to move with the times and share the same lingo as young people 🙂

      • Imagine getting your knickers in a twist over some entertainment news about celebrities’ salaries. But except for that ady person, no one on this blog would admit to being his stan. Lol.

    • She just said above that KSH is getting same as Suzy in 2017 so that is 70 mil but since her last drama had to reshoot almost all her scenes she must have got paid extra for that maybe almost double. Since the debate is about gender pay gap YJG definitely will get more because he is male but maybe less than SK, LDH or CEW because they are trendy and popular recently.

  18. King media play,i dont think he will back in his prime again.Because he keep let his cousin co-produce drama like pyscho is okay and one ordinary day.

  19. I dont even know where this salary info comes ftom but one thing for sure actors or actresses will never disclose their salary to media because this will result to a maximum tax same with their agencies. I think this info is just a made one;a media play indeed. But i believe that there are really royalty in terms of salary payment.There will always the rich, middle class and poor payment modifiers.

  20. From what I know is that Kim So Hyun is paid 50 to 60 million per episode which is still low as compared to some of these B/C-list actors.

    • KSH is getting paid 70 million per episode for her last drama which Lydia already confirmed. Her dramas was a success plus she earned a lot of good will for reshooting the drama. Her next salary will be even bigger most likely between 70-80.

  21. @Lydia

    Yeah right, those actors and actresses who have chosen by companies to represent their brands and do a CFs about their products are all the highest paid one. If you have at least 5-10 cfs in Korea, surely you are well paid.

    I remember before when you have explained here that if a drama is successful majority of the advertisers come on their way plus fan meetings. Thru these mostly generates their big amount of finances. You cited Park Bo Gum after the drama Encounter.

    So if a drama is successful, the main cast will surely hired by ads companies and they will dominate the tvs.

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