List of highest paid American television stars

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This is a list of people starring on American television that are the highest-paid, based on various sources.

Television series[edit]

TV and streaming salaries per episode[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Inflation Adjusted Year Ref.
Jennifer Aniston The Morning Show Alex Levy $2 million $2,120,000 2019– [1][2]
Reese Witherspoon Bradley Jackson
Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men Charlie Harper $1.8 million $2,168,000 2010–11 [3]
Ray Romano Everybody Loves Raymond Raymond Barone $1.725 million $2,359,000 2003–05 [4]
Kelsey Grammer Frasier Frasier Crane $1.6 million $2,295,000 2002–04 [5]
Chris Pratt The Terminal List James Reece $1.4 million $1,466,000 2022– [6]
Tim Allen Home Improvement Tim Taylor $1.25 million $2,033,000 1998–99 [3]
Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld $1 million $1,663,000 1997–98 [7]
Helen Hunt Mad About You Jamie Buchman $1 million $1,627,000 1998–99 [8]
Paul Reiser Paul Buchman
Jennifer Aniston Friends Rachel Green $1 million $1,435,000 2002–04 [9]
Courteney Cox Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc Joey Tribbiani
David Schwimmer Ross Geller
Matthew Perry Chandler Bing
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano $1 million $1,307,000 2006–07 [10]
Kaley Cuoco The Big Bang Theory Penny $1 million $1,129,000 2015–17 [11]
Johnny Galecki Leonard Hofstadter
Jim Parsons Sheldon Cooper
Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister $1 million $1,105,000 2017–18 [12]
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Jaime Lannister
Lena Headey Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harington Jon Snow
Nicole Kidman Big Little Lies Celeste Wright $1 million $1,060,000 2019 [13]
Reese Witherspoon Madeline Martha Mackenzie
Jeff Bridges The Old Man Dan Chase $1 million $1,047,000 2021– [6]
Simon Helberg The Big Bang Theory Howard Wolowitz $900,000 $971,000 2017-19 [14]
Kunal Nayyar Raj Koothrapali
Roseanne Barr Roseanne Roseanne Conner $875,000 $1,512,000 1996-97 [15]
Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men Walden Schmidt $755,000 $852,000 2014 [3]
Drew Carey The Drew Carey Show Drew Carey $750,000 $1,076,000 2001–04 [3]
David Hyde Pierce Frasier Niles Crane $750,000 $1,076,000 2004 [16]
Lauren Graham Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Lorelai Gilmore $750,000 $847,000 2016 [17]
Alexis Bledel Rory Gilmore
Bryan Cranston Your Honor Michael Desiato $750,000 $785,000 2019–2020 [6]
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House $700,000 $826,000 2014 [18]
Andrew Lincoln The Walking Dead Rick Grimes $650,000 $701,000 2017–18 [19]
Kate Winslet Mare of Easttown Mare Sheehan $650,000 $681,000 2019–2020 [6]
Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men Alan Harper $620,000 $709,000 2013–15 [20]
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Seinfeld Elaine Benes $600,000 $998,000 1997–98 [3]
Jason Alexander George Costanza
Michael Richards Cosmo Kramer
Steve Martin Only Murders in the Building Charles $600,000 $628,000 2020– [6]
Martin Short Oliver
Gillian Anderson The First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt $600,000 $628,000 2021–
Viola Davis Michelle Obama
Michelle Pfeiffer Betty Ford
Pedro Pascal The Last of Us Joel Miller $600,000 $628,000 2021–
Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy Meredith Grey $575,000 $609,000 2005– [21]
Alec Baldwin Dr. Death Robert Henderson $575,000 $602,000 2020–2021 [6]
Norman Reedus The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon $550,000 $594,000 2017–18 [19]
Sofía Vergara Modern Family Gloria Pritchett $500,000 $530,000 2009–2020 [22]

Television hosts[edit]

Network primetime salaries per season[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Simon Cowell The X Factor Judge $75 million 2012–13 [23]
Ariana Grande The Voice Coach $25 million 2021 [24]
Katy Perry American Idol Judge $25 million 2017–18 [25]
Jennifer Lopez Judge $20 million 2011–12 [26]
Christina Aguilera The Voice Coach 2011–16 [27]
Mariah Carey American Idol Judge $18 million 2012–13 [28]
Ryan Seacrest American Idol Host $15 million 2013–16 [23]
Britney Spears The X Factor Judge 2012 [28]
Miley Cyrus The Voice Coach $13 million 2016–17 [29]
Adam Levine 2016–18 [29]
Blake Shelton 2016–18 [29]
Kelly Clarkson $12 million 2018 [30]
Shakira 2013 [31]
Gwen Stefani 2017 [32]
Nicki Minaj American Idol Judge 2012–13 [33]

Morning annual salaries[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Ellen DeGeneres The Ellen DeGeneres Show Host $50 million 2017 [34]
Judith Sheindlin Judge Judy Judge $47 million 2013 [35]
Barbara Walters The View Host $13 million 2007 [36]
Bob Barker The Price Is Right Game show host $10 million 2001 [37]

News presenters[edit]

Name Program Role Salary Year Ref.
Matt Lauer Today Anchor $21 million [38]
Meredith Vieira Today Anchor $15 million [39][40]
Katie Couric CBS Evening News News anchor $15 million [41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston Finally Give Us a Peek at The Morning Show. W. 25 March 2019.
  2. ^ Inside Apple's Long, Bumpy Road to Hollywood. ‘’The Hollywood Reporter’’. 16 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Highest Paid TV Actors Of All Time Per Per Episode - UPROXX". UPROXX. August 5, 2014.
  4. ^ "For $50 Mil, Producers Love Raymond". PEOPLE.com.
  5. ^ "Kelsey Grammer: NBC's $1.6 Million Man". PEOPLE.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Schneider, Michael; Otterson, Joe (August 18, 2021). "Streaming Boom Keeps TV Salaries at Heady Levels: Here's What Kate Winslet, Jason Sudeikis and More Are Earning". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Fahey, Mark (May 31, 2015). "Seinfeld's per-line payday". CNBC.
  8. ^ Flint, Joe (April 10, 1998). "Helen Hunt and Paul Riser get a raise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Carter, Bill (June 11, 2004). "The fame and fat paycheck from Friends--$1.25 million per episode last season". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Mahan, Colin (July 5, 2006). "Sopranos actors end pay dispute". TV.com. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Big Bang Theory Actors Set to Earn $1 Million an Episode".
  12. ^ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Made More Than $1 Million Per Episode for Game of Thrones' Final Season. Harper's Bazaar. 6 September 2018.
  13. ^ Apple shelling out millions for TV talent reportedly helped Reese Witherspoon triple her salary on season 2 of HBO's 'Big Little Lies'. Business Insider. 17 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Why the 'Big Bang Theory' Stars Took Surprising Pay Cuts". The Hollywood Reporter. March 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "What is Roseanne Barr's Net Worth?". May 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Acuna, Kirsten (September 25, 2012). "The Highest-Paid Actors On TV This Fall". Business Insider. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  17. ^ "Salaries of TV's Top Talent Revealed". October 4, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  18. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 13, 2012). "The Real Story Behind House's Cancellation". TV Guide. Archived from the original on January 30, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  19. ^ a b 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Ellen Pompeo Reveal's Why She Stayed on Grey's Anatomy".
  22. ^ "The Highest-Paid Actresses 2020: Small Screen Stars Like Sofia Vergara, Ellen Pompeo and Elisabeth Moss Shine". Forbes.
  23. ^ a b "Britney Spears signs onto 'X-Factor': Highest paid stars on TV". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  24. ^ Burgos, Jenzia (September 20, 2021). "Ariana Grande Is the Highest-Paid Coach in 'Voice' History—Here's Her Salary & Net Worth". Yahoo!. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Elliott, Hannah (May 16, 2012). "The Real American Idol: How J.Lo Got Her Mojo Back". Forbes. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  27. ^ Aguilera sources:
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Rushfield, Ricchard. "Idol Terror - Is Seacrest Out? An Ankler Special Report". The Ankler. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  31. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (September 19, 2012). "How Much Will Shakira Make for The Voice?". Vulture. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  32. ^ Gerencer, Tommy (November 28, 2016). "How Much Money Do The Voice Coaches Make?". MoneyNation. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  33. ^ Soghomonian, Talia (June 1, 2013). "Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey quit 'American Idol'". NME. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  34. ^ "TV Personalities". CBC News. July 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 8, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  35. ^ "TVs Highest Paid Star? Judge Judy (by a mile)". newser.com. August 22, 2013.
  36. ^ "Barbara Walters". Forbes.com. June 14, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  37. ^ "Spotlights Monologues extended". Toronto Star. January 30, 2001.
  38. ^ Starr, Michael (May 2, 2002). "Stays for Another 'Day'". Fox News. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  39. ^ Durden, Douglas (September 14, 2006). "'Today' gives new host a very warm welcome". Richmond Times.
  40. ^ "Vieira chosen as Couric's 'Today' successor". NBC. April 7, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  41. ^ 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.