List of highest paid American television stars

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This is a list of people starring on television that are the highest-paid, based on various sources. This list includes the top-paid TV stars by name and their network primetime salaries per episode, which includes stars from past series like Two and a Half Men and current series like Game of Thrones. It also includes hosts and news presenters with the highest annual salaries, which include Tyra Banks, Maury Povich, Ellen DeGeneres, and some talent from the Today Show and the CBS Evening News.

Network primetime salaries per episode[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Inflation Adjusted Year Ref.
Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister £2,000,000[a] 2017–18 [2]
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Jaime Lannister
Lena Headey Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harington Jon Snow
Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men Charlie Harper $1.8 million $1,958,000 2010–11 [3]
Ray Romano Everybody Loves Raymond Raymond Barone $1.7 million $2,130,000 2003–05 [4]
Kelsey Grammer Frasier Frasier Crane $1.6 million $2,073,000 2002–04 [5]
Tim Allen Home Improvement Tim Taylor $1.25 million $1,836,000 1998–99 [3]
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano $1 million $1,180,000 2006–07 [6]
Jennifer Aniston Friends Rachel Green $1 million $1,296,000 2002–04 [7]
Courteney Cox Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc Joey Tribbiani
David Schwimmer Ross Geller
Matthew Perry Chandler Bing
Helen Hunt Mad About You Jamie Buchman $1 million $1,469,000 1998–99 [8]
Paul Reiser Paul Buchman
Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld $1 million $1,501,000 1997–98 [9]
Johnny Galecki The Big Bang Theory Leonard Hofstadter $900,000 $900,000 2017–19 [10]
Jim Parsons Sheldon Cooper
Kunal Nayyar Raj Koothrapali
Simon Helberg Howard Wolowitz
Kaley Cuoco Penny
Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men Walden Schmidt $755,000 $770,000 2014 [3]
Drew Carey The Drew Carey Show Drew Carey $750,000 $972,000 2001–04 [3]
Lauren Graham Gilmore Girls Lorelai Gilmore $750,000 $765,000 2016 [11]
Alexis Bledel Rory Gilmore
David Hyde Pierce Frasier Niles Crane $750,000 $972,000 2014 [12]
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House $700,000 $746,000 2014
Andrew Lincoln The Walking Dead Rick Grimes $650,000 $650,000 2017–18 [2]
Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men Alan Harper $620,000 $640,000 2013–15 [13]
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Seinfeld Elaine Benes $600,000 $901,000 1997–98 [3]
Jason Alexander George Costanza
Michael Richards Cosmo Kramer
Norman Reedus The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon $550,000 $550,000 2017–18 [2]

Network primetime salaries per season[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Simon Cowell The X Factor Judge $75 million 2012–13 [14]
Katy Perry American Idol $25 million 2017–18 [15]
Jennifer Lopez $20 million 2011–12 [16]
Mariah Carey $18 million 2012–13 [17]
Hugh Laurie House Gregory House $15 million 2013 [14]
Ryan Seacrest American Idol Host 2013–16 [14]
Britney Spears The X Factor Judge 2012 [17]
Miley Cyrus The Voice Coach $13 million 2016–17 [18]
Adam Levine 2016–18 [18]
Blake Shelton 2016–18 [18]
Christina Aguilera $12.5 million 2013 [19]
Kelly Clarkson $12 million 2018 [20]
Shakira 2013 [19]
Gwen Stefani 2017 [21]
Nicki Minaj American Idol Judge 2012–13 [19]

Morning annual salaries[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Judith Sheindlin Judge Judy Judge $47 million 2013 [22]
Barbara Walters The View Host $13 million 2007 [23]
Bob Barker The Price Is Right Game show host $10 million 2001 [24]
Ellen DeGeneres The Ellen DeGeneres Show Host $5 million 2007 [25]
Jerry Springer The Jerry Springer Show Host $3–4 million 1999 [26]
Tyra Banks The Tyra Banks Show Host $3.5 million [27][28]

News presenter annual salaries[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Matt Lauer Today Anchor $21 million [29]
Meredith Vieira Today Anchor $15 million [30][31]
Katie Couric CBS Evening News News anchor $15 million [32]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The ''Daily Express gives a £2 million figure, though sources differ. This figure possibly includes the percentage the cast makes from reruns and overseas syndications.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hollywood's Salary Report 2017: Movie Stars to Makeup Artists to Boom Operators". The Daily Telegraph. September 28, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Goldberg, Lesley (November 17, 2016). "Robert De Niro's Making How Much?! TV Is Becoming an ATM for Top Talent". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 15, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Highest Paid TV Actors Of All Time Per Per Episode - UPROXX". UPROXX. 
  4. ^ "For $50 Mil, Producers Love Raymond". PEOPLE.com. 
  5. ^ "Kelsey Grammer: NBC's $1.6 Million Man". PEOPLE.com. 
  6. ^ Mahan, Colin (July 5, 2006). "Sopranos actors end pay dispute". TV.com. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  7. ^ Carter, Bill (February 12, 2002). "'Friends' Deal Will Pay Each Of Its 6 Stars $22 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  8. ^ Flint, Joe (April 10, 1998). "Helen Hunt and Paul Riser get a raise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  9. ^ Fahey, Mark (May 31, 2015). "Seinfeld's per-line payday". CNBC. 
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 29, 2017). "Why the 'Big Bang Theory' Stars Took Surprising Pay Cuts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2018. 
  11. ^ "Salaries of TV's Top Talent Revealed". Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  12. ^ Acuna, Kirsten (September 25, 2012). "The Highest-Paid Actors On TV This Fall". Business Insider. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ Balloni, Matthew (May 1, 2013). "'Two and a Half Men': Jon Cryer Gets a Raise, Ashton Kutcher Doesn't". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c "Britney Spears signs onto 'X-Factor': Highest paid stars on TV". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  15. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (May 30, 2017). "Paying Katy Perry Top Dollar Doesn't Make Sense for 'American Idol'". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  16. ^ Elliott, Hannah (May 16, 2012). "The Real American Idol: How J.Lo Got Her Mojo Back". Forbes. Forbes, Inc. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Maloney, Devon (July 24, 2012). "Mariah Carey's $18 Million 'Idol' Deal: How Does it Measure Up to Stars' TV Paydays?". Spin. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c Maglio, Tony; Waxman, Sharon (March 25, 2016). "'Voice' Judge Shakeup: Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys to Join, Pharrell Williams to Exit Next Season (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b c Etkin, Jamie (September 4, 2013). "How J.Lo's New $17.5 Million "Idol" Contract Compares To Other Reality Judges'". Buzzfeed. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  20. ^ Rushfield, Ricchard. "Idol Terror - Is Seacrest Out? An Ankler Special Report". The Ankler. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  21. ^ Gerencer, Tommy (November 28, 2016). "How Much Money Do The Voice Coaches Make?". MoneyNation. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  22. ^ "TVs Highest Paid Star? Judge Judy (by a mile)". newser.com. Aug 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Barbara Walters". Forbes.com. June 14, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Spotlights Monologues extended". Toronto Star. January 30, 2001. 
  25. ^ "Oprah's $260M salary proves talk isn't cheap". CBC News. July 25, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Springer's denies knowledge about show's business details". June 5, 1999. 
  27. ^ http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-3216709/Everybody-loves-raises-LIFE-ARTS.html[dead link]
  28. ^ http://www.thestreet.com/p/newsanalysis/sbmanagement/10380979_2.html[dead link]
  29. ^ Starr, Michael (May 2, 2002). "Stays for Another 'Day'". Fox News. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  30. ^ Durden, Douglas (September 14, 2006). "'Today' gives new host a very warm welcome". Richmond Times. 
  31. ^ "Vieira chosen as Couric's 'Today' successor". NBC. April 7, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  32. ^ Carter, Bill (December 20, 2001). "Katie Couric Signs NBC Contract Said to Be Largest in TV News". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 

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