The actors and actresses on soaps are some of the hardest working in all of television. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, soap opera stars churn out serialised episode after episode for millions of fans to enjoy. Networks do not make actors' salaries known to the public, but there are many reports available. Unless a soap actor is an established star, pay typically runs on a per-episode basis.
According to American Federation of Radio and Television Artists guidelines, new soap opera actors make scale, which is around £455 an episode. But these actors may only appear in a few episodes or work a few days a week.
For stars who have been around for five to 10 years, the pay can rise exponentially per episode, and work is much more consistent. Popularity and star power becomes a factor at this point in an actor's career, as she can now be established enough to make plays for more money.
According to the Huffington Post, Susan Lucci, who plays Erica Kane on "All My Children," is the highest-paid soap star and has been raking in more than £0.6 million per year since at least 1990. "La Lucci" has been nominated for Daytime Emmys 21 times and has been on television screens since "All My Children's" debut in 1970.
As of 2009, advertising revenue has dropped precipitously as the American economy has worsened, so actors' salaries, including Lucci's, have been chopped.
Daytime soaps are starting to disappear as the economy worsens and viewership drops. "Guiding Light" left the airwaves in 2009 after more than 70 years of consistent episodes.