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
DAYTIME/SYNDICATION (per year)
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
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