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The Staggering Amount Of Money William H. Macy Actually Made From Shameless

William H. Macy had found success before he took the lead in Showtime's "Shameless," but the 11 season series inarguably lifted him into the stratosphere. After a career of memorable supporting turns in awards favorites like "Fargo" and box office hits such as "Wild Hogs," Macy finally got his shot to lead a major project with "Shameless." Macy starred as Frank Gallagher, the alcoholic sleaze-ball patriarch of the wide Gallagher clan, whose members struggles in their own ways with both the trappings of poverty and family. 

Macy was the main attraction for the series for its 11 successful seasons on Showtime, with Gallagher giving him an opportunity to let loose as a performer as he shocked viewers week after week with just how low Frank could and would go for his own gain, which was usually a bottle of something. Developed by John Wells and premiering in 2011, "Shameless" was based on a British series with the same name that ran from 2004 to 2013. 

"Shameless" gave Macy a great acting opportunity, but it also made him an even more recognizable star and one of Showtime's most valued performers. The actor brought in a staggering amount of money from "Shameless" before the series wrapped up in 2021. 

William H. Macy pulled in CSI-level money

William H. Macy likely pocketed a nice chunk of change from his time on "Shameless", as he at one point found himself making approximately the same amount as stars of much more mainstream shows. The "Fargo" star at one point earned $350,000 per episode for "Shameless," which ran for 134 episodes across 10 years (via Variety). To put that number in perspective, David Caruso was earning $375,000 per episode on "CSI: Miami" for a mainstream network (CBS) when his show was ranking in the top 10 of all series (per CBR). 

It's tough to argue Macy didn't earn his paycheck as he did much more than just act for the cameras, directing three episodes of "Shameless" and even writing an episode titled "Can I Have a Mother." Unlike Caruso, he was also pulling in major accolades for Showtime, being nominated for Emmys for his performance as Gallagher six times (via IMDb). 

Macy also fought for his co-stars, jumping into a contract dispute involving "Shameless" actress Emmy Rossum before Season 8 when she rightly demanded a raise as she had been making less than Macy for the entirety of the series. She had the backing of her co-star Macy. "It's a no-brainer. It's just sort of obvious. Emmy is in most of the scenes, she works harder than anybody else, she's a brilliant actress. She's the glue of the cast," the actor said (via People).