Top TV Salaries – WoW!

Here, from TV Guide, are salaries for many TV stars:

The top earners, by category:

Drama (per episode)

Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS$375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY$275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife$175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof$150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O’Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified$100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries$40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats$30,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)

Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show$28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show$25 million
Conan O’Brien (The Conan O’Brien Show$10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show$8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live$6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately$3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight$3.5 million

Reality (per year)

Ryan Seacrest
(American Idol$15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup$2 million
Piers Morgan (America’s Got Talent$2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8$250,000 per episode
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Jersey Shore$30,000 per episode

Comedy (per episode)

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men$1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men$550,000
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons$400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons$400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock$350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage$350,000
Steve Carell (The Office$297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men$250,000
David Duchovny (Californication$200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage$200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage$200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie$175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says$150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement$150,000
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family$100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement$85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland$75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family$50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee$50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory$40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee$30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place$30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody$20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family$15,000

News (per year)

Matt Lauer (Today $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today$11 million
Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000

Wikipedia has some old info from 2007 here but note that salaries change with every season and depend on a lot of factors such as producer status, syndication, etc.

7 thoughts on “Top TV Salaries – WoW!

  1. Absurd isn’t it–or, rather, obscene.

    The TV yukmeisters are bad enough–400 grand for one episode of some meaningless BS such as Desperate Housewives, or Sheen’s stupid antics, or the Simpson’s. Pro. athletes are also incredibly overpaid. Couric earns 15 mil. for basically reading off some factoids for a few minutes each day. OprahCo of course outnauseates all.
    It’s nearly enough to have some reach for their notes to Karlo Marx.

    • Big salaries always seem out of whack with common sense, though in some sense this is simply a media scaling issue where the stakes are very high.

      For example a few % difference between audiences means millions more in advertising value, and people are loyal to their shows and stars, so paying the big folks millions may yield far more than that pay for the network.

      That said I don’t see how, say, Matt Lauer or Katie Couric’s departure would cost the network that much in profits, especially if you factor in the reasonable chance they’d find a new, cheap “superstar” who would increase their share.

      • At least Katie could do the News topless,like canadian style. 🙂

        out of whack with common sense.

        Or Justice, really. Some people (many in fact) probably sense there is something injust about an Oprah making 300 million shekels a year. Oprah’s not a Freeman Dyson, or Chomsky, or Stravinsky etc. She may be talented, an effective speaker, entertaining, so forth, but ….the appeal of celebrity hosts and pundits such as Oprah (or Letterman, LenoCo, etc) should be considered akin to a hula-hoop craze or top 40 hit. It’s not really anything substantial–merely producers taking advantage of the consumerist Herd Mind (doesn’t happen in China, that’s for sure)

  2. 10 million per annum year to O’Reilly meets the criteria of outrageous as well. 10 mil. to rant and rave, rabble-rouse, spew hysteria, wave the flag, stir up the yokels. He should be paying us.

    Why, many people do that for free, in bars, on AM radio, or on blogs–like Byronia, of New Worlds. Sort of an online O’Reilly (regardless of his phony moralist-liberal act once a month), though a few IQ points shy of Foxnews material. Though Byron doesn’t make anything for his confused, irrational hysteria, except maybe when he sells a T-shirt.

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