A Encouraging And Dispiriting Sample Of Television’s Highest Paid Earners

Entertainment Features
08.20.13 55 Comments


On Thursday, TV Guide Magazine will release their latest issue, which will include the top 150 television performers on television. However, a sizable sampling of those salaries has already been released (via Yahoo), and among the revelations is the fact that Jon Stewart is now the highest paid late-night talk show host (surpassing both Letterman and Leno), which basically dismisses the any notion that Jon Stewart might someday take over for Letterman. Why would he? In the 18-49 demo, he’s already the top-rated late night talk show most of the year, and of course, Stewart gets something like 20 weeks a vacation a year, plus Comedy Central is cool enough to let him leave for three months and go make a movie.

In more dispiriting news, however, Judge Judy — of all people — basically dominated every other performer on television, earning $47 million a year. That is staggering, and kind of sad. Are there that many people at home on a Tuesday afternoon tuning into Judge Judy? Good for her, but man, I’m sorry if your life is such that you spend your afternoons watching people settle small-claim disputes. Two and a Half Men’s Ashton Kutcher, of course, remains the top earning actor on a television show (although, the gang from Big Bang Theory may surpass him next year), while Mark Harmon is drama’s top-earner.

It is, however, cool to see that the likes of Peter Dinklage, Amy Poehler, Max Greenfield, and Tatiana Maslany also make huge salaries, although Maslany probably deserves $50,000 for each role.

Below is a nice sampling of TV’s top earners.

DRAMA (per episode)

Mark Harmon (NCIS): $525,000 + points
Claire Danes (Homeland): $250,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS): $250,000
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones): $150,000
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black): $50,000

COMEDY (per episode)

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men): $750,000
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother): $225,000
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation): $200,000
Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones): $165,000
Max Greenfield (New Girl): $75,000


Howard Stern (America’s Got Talent): $15 million per year
Keith Urban (American Idol): $5 million per year
Blake Shelton (The Voice): $4 million per cycle
RuPaul (RuPaul’s Drag Race): $50,000 per episode
Reza Farahan (Shahs of Sunset): $18,000 per episode

LATE NIGHT (per year)

Jon Stewart (The Daily Show): $25-30 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show): $20 million
David Letterman (Late Night): $20 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live): $10 million
Andy Cohen (Watch What Happens Live): $2 million

NEWS (per year)

Matt Lauer (NBC): $22-25 million
Rachel Maddow (MSNBC): $7 million
Megyn Kelly (Fox News Channel): $6 million
Scott Pelley (CBS): $5 million
Chris Cuomo (CNN): $2.5 million


Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy): $47 million
Katie Couric (Katie): $10 million
Michael Strahan (Live with Kelly and Michael): $4 million
Sharon Osbourne (The Talk): $1 million
Aisha Tyler (The Talk): $1 million

(Source: Yahoo)

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