Top Earners on Television

Hugh Laurie earns the most per episode of any actor in a drama earning $400,000 per episode acting in House on Fox.

Hugh Laurie earns more than any other actor in a drama earning $400,000 an episode while no other actor in the series even makes the list which has Ashley Tisdale at the bottom of the list earning $30,000 an episode for Hellcats.

This list can’t be complete because it shows David Boreanaz earning $200,000 yet doesn’t even list Emily Deschanel the star of the show who portrays Bones.

It is surprising to see an established movie star like Tom Selleck only earning $125,000 for his new CBS series Blue Bloods which debuts this fall.

Oprah Winfrey leads all entertainers and news persons on the list earning $315 million. Judge Judy Scheindlind earns $45 million a year making her second behind Winfrey in income earned. David Letterman earns $28 million while Jay Leno earns $25 million leaving Leno $20 behind Judge Judy.

Judge Judy has one of the best gigs on television making big bucks for making plaintiffs and defendants look stupid and lashes out at them to amuse her audience. It is incongruous that she makes one party or the other pay insignificant sums while she earns millions. Nice work if you can get it.

Ryan Seacrest earns $15 million leads reality television people for presiding over American Idol not to mention the money he makes producing television shows and his E network shows that he hosts plus his radio show. It looks like he is trying to be another Dick Clark having his hands in the till on all many shows at once.

It is beyond me why Kate Gosselin is being paid $250,000 an episode for Kate Plus 8. If she does a run of ten episodes she earns $2.5 million and for just having a routine day of raising her kids even if it is less than routine with eight of them.  When is this insanity going to end paying nobodies $250,000 an episode?

Charlie Sheen of Two and a Half Men leads all comedic actors with income of $1.25 million an episode for the highest salary by any actor in episodic television.

It is surprising that Matt Lauer earns more than anyone else in network news with an annual income of $16 million while Katie Couric is next at $15 million despite having the lowest rated evening news program for CBS.

Brian Williams who anchors the NBC evening news program and Diane Sawyer who is the ABC anchor both earn $12.5 million a year.

Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who left his office in disgrace after a sex scandal is earning $500,000 for appearing on CNN channel.

TV Guide has an article and complete list for those who want more details about the highest earning television celebrities.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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