Top 20 Highest Paid TV Stars
Even though they may not be as flush as other renowned movie stars, our favorite TV actors are still being paid quite handsomely, most of them making over $3 million per season. And since this fall has brought with it the return of a great deal of TV shows, we thought we’d take a peek at the salaries of some of the most well-known and appreciated personalities in the business. Here is our top 20 of the highest paid TV stars:
20. Michael C. Hall ($3.6 million)
Our favorite serial killer/vigilante Dexter returned this fall for its eighth and final season, boasting 12 episodes of thrilling, mind-boggling and sometimes sad turn of events that marked the ending of a legend. Michael C. Hall managed to bring in as much as $3.6 million this fall, since his reported salary per episode is somewhere around $300,000.
19. Lauren Graham ($3.9 million)
American comedy/drama TV Series Parenthood is currently boasting 5 seasons, enjoying an increase in popularity and positive reviews. Since she replaced replace Maura Tierney as the show’s single mother Sarah Braverman, Lauren Graham has been cashing in considerable paychecks of $175,000 per episode, which add up to $3.9 for a season of 22 episodes.
18. Pauley Perette ($4.2 million)
As one of the longest-running shows on TV right now, NCIS managed to gather fans in the millions since it started airing 11 years ago. Abigail “Abby” Sciuto is a forensic specialist portrayed on the show by Pauley Perette. Her incredible acting skills enable her to earn as much as $4.2 million per season, which equals to $175,000 per episode.
17. Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara ($4.2 million)
The actors that bring to life the beloved characters of Modern Family are doing quite well for themselves money-wise, since Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet are each getting $175,000 per episode, which is exactly as much as Pauley Perette. Even though Modern Family and NCIS have nothing in common, their actors are still cashing in the same checks.
16. Amy Poehler ($4.4 million)
Parks and Recreation has finally reached season 6, and Amy Poehler, also known as the Deputy Director of the Parks Department, Leslie Knope, is earning $200,000 per episode, which adds up to $4.4 million over a span of 22 episodes.
15. Tim Allen ($4.7 million)
ABC’s Last Man Standing is an American television sitcom that premiered on October 11, 2011. As Tim Allen’s second role in a sitcom for ABC, his portrayal of Mike Baxter (father of three), managed to earn him considerable success. Consequently, his success is being converted into large sums of money – $235,000 per episode to be precise.
14. Ed O’Neil (4.8 million)
Everybody used to know him as Al Bundy from the classic American sitcom Married With Children, but Ed O’Neil is now Jay Pritchett of Modern Family. In the series, his character is a very successful businessman, which may very well translate into his real life, since he is currently cashing in $200,000 per episode.
13. Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, and Neil Patrick Harris ($5.4 million)
It seems that we will finally find out how Ted met the mother of his children in the ninth and final season of How I Met Your Mother. The main cast includes Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, and Neil Patrick Harris, all receiving equally substantial paychecks of $225,000 per episode.
12. David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel ($5.5 million)
In Bones, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) are solving difficult and elaborate mysteries by analyzing human remains. The main stars of the show are being paid handsomely for their outstanding acting duo, each receiving $250,000 after each episode.
11. Patricia Heaton ($5.6 million)
In “The Middle”, Patricia Heaton becomes hard working, mother of three, Frances “Frankie” Heck. The show aired first on September 30, 2009, and it has now reached its 5th season. Even though Patricia’s character on the show is definitely placed in the middle-class niche of American society, her real life situation couldn’t be more different, since she earns as much as $235,000 per episode and $5.6 million per season.
10. Michael Weatherly ($6 million)
We’re back to NCIS to tell you a bit about the earnings of Michale Weatherly, who does such a good job in highlighting the outstanding investigation skills of Anthony DiNozo. His seasonal salary is $6 million, since he is paid $250,000 per episode.
9. Ted Danson ($6 million)
Ted Danson is paid just as handsomely as Michael Weatherly is. However, Ted stars in the veteran show CSI, where he replaced Laurence Fishburne starting season 12. In his 30-year career, Ted Danson was nominated for 15 Primetime Emmy Awards and he won two of them. His current salary is $250,000 per episode, which means he is still earning big at the age of 65.
8. Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith ($6.6 million)
There isn’t a shred of doubt that The Simpsons is a successful and beloved show, and true fans of the American animated sitcom already know that Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner and Yeardley Smith are behind the voices of their favorite characters. Since its first airing on December 17, 1989, the show spanned over 532 episodes, and its 25th season has only just begun. The aforementioned stars are receiving $300,000 per episode.
7. Kaley Cuoco, John Galecki, Jim Parsons ($7.8 million)
The great dynamics of Penny, the Cheesecake Factory waitress, and scientists Leonard and Sheldon made the entire world burst into laughter times and times again. With the recent airing of the Big Bang Theory’s 7th season, we expect even more fun to follow. We’re pretty sure Kaley Cuoco, John Galecki and Jim Parsons are feeling quite good as well, since they’re earning no less than $325,000 per episode.
6. Simon Baker ($8.1 million)
The Mentalist is truly an exceptional show in all regards, boasting a perfect mix of drama and bits of intelligent humor here and there. The unique acting performance of Simon Baker as Patrick Jane equals a pretty big paycheck, which includes no less than $350,000 per episode.
5. Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo, and Patrick Dempsey ($8.4 million)
As one of the most incredible medical-based drama shows on TV right now, Grey’s Anatomy highlights the personal and professional struggles of 5 surgical interns. The main characters, Dr. Cristina Yang, Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Derek Shepherd are each portrayed perfectly by Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo, and Patrick Dempsey respectively. Their salary? “Just” $350,000 per episode.
4. Mariska Hargitay ($8.8 million)
Law & Order: SVU brings the NYPD detectives of the Special Victims Unit into the spotlight, which is charged with investigating sexually related crimes. Mariska Hargitay is Detective Olivia Benson – a skilled detective that is especially sympathetic towards rape victims. Mariska is currently being paid $400,000 per episode, which equals to an $8.8 million salary on a 22 episode season.
3. Mark Harmon: $12.6 million
Probably the highest paid cast-member of NCIS is Mark Harmon, since he plays none other than Leroy Jethro Gibbs – a highly experienced former U.S. Marine scout sniper. For each episode he stars in, Mark receives $525,000, which is why he is ranked 3rd on our top 20 of the highest paid TV stars.
2. Jon Cryer: $14.3 million
As the story of Two and a Half Men progresses, it’s beginning to be quite clear that Alan will never leave the Malibu mansion of his deceased brother (Charlie Sheen), even though the house in question now has a new owner (Ashton Kutcher). The second highest-paid TV star in the world right now is Jon Cryer, who is cashing in no less than $650,000 per episode.
1. Ashton Kutcher: $16.5 million
Even though some said that Two and a Half Men would never be the same without Charlie Sheen, it seems that Ashton Kutcher actually managed to do a pretty good job in keeping the show alive so far. Therefore, he is constantly being generously rewarded for his efforts, which allowed him to become the highest earner on TV right now. His salary is a whopping $750,000 per episode, which means that he is cashing in $16.5 million per season. Wow!