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19 Top TV Stars and Their Unbelievable Salaries

How much is your favorite star getting paid?

They show up week after week in our living rooms, more prompt than the dishwashing repair company, and many times more satisfying than, well, many things. TV stars are hardworking cogs in the machines of how most of us get our daily entertainment fix. Where would we be without someone to root for on American Idol? How would we laugh into slumber if it wasn’t for late-night comedy? (Have you downloaded our printable guide to the Fall TV premiere dates in September?)

How much is that entertainment worth?

We pay for cable or satellite, streaming movies or shows, Internet service, and movie channels. All of us pay. (Oh yes, even if you think you aren’t, that ad you just watched is proving you wrong.) The money goes into some big, complicated Rube Goldberg machine, and at some point it becomes the salaries for our favorite TV stars. So just how much do our favorite TV stars get paid? TV Guide has released the data from their yearly survey revealing the answers.

They calculated the salaries for over 150 TV stars based on “conversations with agents, managers, and studio heads and network executives.” They have shared a small sample of that list as a sneak peek, but you can grab the full list when the issue arrives on newsstands August 22nd.

Salaries For Some Top TV Stars:

  • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) 1 of 19
    Amy-Poehler

    Amy earns $200,000 per episode of Parks and Recreation. When she isn't busy cracking us up on the small screen, she is making us laugh in the movies. Amy's movie, Afternoon Delight, was a critic's favorite at Sundance and just screened at ArcLight Cinemas in Los Angeles. 

  • Andy Cohen (Watch What Happens Live) 2 of 19
    Andy-Cohen

    Every time I watch Andy's Watch What Happens, I grin. Or guffaw. Or gasp. I think that's what the producer turned talk show host had in mind. Andy earns $2 million a year for his work on the show, and the guy WORKS. Andy was recently in the news for turning down the invitation to host the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.

  • Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men) 3 of 19
    Ashton-Kutcher

    Ashton earns $100,000 more per episode than his co-star Jon Cryer on Two and Half Men. Yup. At first that made me really sad for Duckie. Then I realized Jon Cryer was getting $650,000 per episode and I didn't feel so badly for the guy anymore. Ashton is currently braving a war of words with Steve Wozniak after the release of the Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs

  • Claire Danes (Homeland) 4 of 19
    Highest Paid TV Stars

    Claire Danes is getting $250,000 per episode of the award-winning Homeland. Have you seen the trailer for season 3? WE CANNOT WAIT!!

  • David Letterman (Late Night) 5 of 19
    David-Letterman

    David Letterman and all of the late night guys are pretty used to having their salaries discussed. The big question for Dave fans is whether or not the King of Late Night will still have any interest in the gig next year. His contract at CBS is over in 2014. Based on some early statements from CBS chief Leslie Moonves, they will be swift in making sure his contract is renewed. Expect this salary to increase!

  • Howard Stern (America’s Got Talent) 6 of 19
    Howard-Stern

    Howard Stern is doing very, very well. Forbes puts Howard and Simon Cowell at the top of their list for "highest paid TV personalities." Both are estimated to be worth $95 million. 

  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) 7 of 19
    Jason-Segel

    I am very happy for Jason to be making $225,000 per episode. I would have been happier for him had I not just read about his (RUMORED) new romance with Cameron Diaz. Sigh. Jason, Jason, Jason ... when are you going to realize redheads have more fun? 

  • Jay Leno (The Tonight Show) 8 of 19
    Jay-Leno

    This will be the last year for Leno to appear on this list. Okay, actually that isn't fair of me to say. This is the last year Leno will appear on this list as an earner from The Tonight Show. Starting next February, the late night talk show host will be replaced with Jimmy Fallon

  • Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) 9 of 19
    Jon-Stewart

    This salary news is AWESOME. Seriously. If I saw Jon Stewart right now, I bet he would be icing his hand from everyone high-fiving him over this report. This salary is the highest in late night. WELL DONE, Jon. Well done! We all can't wait to see you back on September 3rd

  • Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live) 10 of 19
    Jimmy-Kimmel

    Jimmy Kimmel always keeps it interesting in late night. Earlier this week, he and Oprah — okay really it was mostly Oprah — gave away a car to a member of his studio audience. 

  • Keith Urban (American Idol) 11 of 19
    Keith-Urban

    Keith is one of the few male stars who isn't earning as much as his female counterparts on a reality show. Mariah is said to have earned $18 million for judging American Idol, and the rumor is when Jennifer Lopez returns to judge (come on, we all know she's coming back), her salary will increase from $12 million a year to $20 million.

  • Mark Harmon (NCIS) 12 of 19
    Mark-Harmon

    Mark Harmon is about to begin his 11th season of NCIS and he will be the highest paid actor in a drama. Not only will Mark earn $525,000 per episode, but he will also earn points on the show. (Points means a percentage of gross revenue.) NCIS is currently working on casting for the next season and keeping things interesting. 

  • Max Greenfield (New Girl) 13 of 19
    Max-Greenfield

    I will admit it, I stopped watching New Girl after three episodes. However Max Greenfield's version of Vanilla Ice on a recent episode is so brilliant I may have to start watching the show again!

  • Michael Weatherly (NCIS) 14 of 19
    Michael-Weatherly

    All I can think about is whether or not things are awkward between Mark and Michael. A $300,000 per episode difference is a BIG difference. And sure, Mark is the star of NCIS, but isn't it really an ensemble show? 

  • Reza Farahan (Shahs of Sunset) 15 of 19
    Reza-Farahan

    I've never watched Shahs of Sunset. The Bravo show is about a group of Iranian American friends living in Beverly Hills who are navigating their life, work, and family traditions. Reza is "one of few openly gay Persians" within the community where the show is filmed.

  • Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones) 16 of 19
    Robin-Williams

    I just need to take a moment and celebrate that Robin Williams is going to be on TV! I am just a bit bummed out that it isn't Mork and Mindy, but a David E. Kelly show can be interesting. The Crazy Ones is a show that is rumored to be a, ahem, Mad Men knock-off. Even better. This show premieres at the end of September. 

  • Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) 17 of 19
    Peter-Dinklage

    I was really curious what a cast member of a huge ensemble show like Game of Thrones would earn. Not sure if Peter is the norm or an exception with this rate of $150,000 per episode, but that is a nice salary for a cable drama. Peter can next be seen in X-Men Days of Future Past.

  • Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) 18 of 19
    Tatiana-Maslany

    Orphan Black is a BBC show and Tatiana is the star. I wonder if she'll make more once the show comes to America? The show is a supernatural thriller about, um, clones, and, um, well, it's complicated! 

  • RuPaul (RuPaul’s Drag Race) 19 of 19
    RuPaul

    RuPaul is trying something new with a web series called RuPaul Drives. Very similar to Jerry Seinfeld's web series, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, RuPaul will pick up famous members of the LGBT world and talk. No coffee. I love that RuPaul is always keeping things interesting!

Image Credit: all images from PR Photos

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