We — me, the rest of the UPROXX staff, most of the Internet, etc. — tend to exist inside a happy little bubble where the best shows on television are also the most popular. This is why shows like Parks & Recreation and Mad Men get covered at length online despite pulling in bupkis in the ratings, and why we spend a huge chunk of time talking about Archer even when it hasn’t been on television for the past six months. It’s a quality of life thing. But every now and then, something will happen that will remind you what an absolute juggernaut CBS is in the industry, and it can’t be ignored. Like the fact that that they had 12 of the 25 highest-rated shows of the 2012-2013 season (and actually canceled number 22). Or the fact that Forbes just released the list of highest-earning television actors of 2012-2013, and it is straight-up dominated by current and former CBS stars.
The list itself is a little hokey because it does things like slot Ray Romano and his Everybody Loves Raymond royalties at number three by counting his arc on the most recent season of Parenthood, but whatever, that’s not the point. The point is that seven of the nine highest-paid actors on television either are currently or were recently employed by CBS, including a total of $66 million for the three and a half men who have starred in Two and a Half Men. And the two people on the list that aren’t on the CBS dime are Tim Allen and the star of a show that just had one of the worst final seasons in recent memory. This is unacceptable. Someone start a Kickstarter to send $20 million to Jon Hamm, if only to make this list more tolerable next year.
1) Ashton Kutcher – $24 million
2) Jon Cryer – $21 million
3) Ray Romano – $16 million
4) Neil Patrick Harris – $15 million
5) Mark Harmon – $15 million
6) Tim Allen – $11 million
7) Angus T. Jones – $11 million
8) Michael C. Hall – $10 million
9) Charlie Sheen – $10 million