In the issue that hit homes on Aug. 22, “TV Guide” released its full 2013 salary report for Hollywood’s hottest TV stars. Simon Cowell, the Kardashians, Judge Judy, Simon Baker, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Stewart and Matt Lauer all landed at the top of their respective categories. TV’s well-paid stars were broken into seven groups: moguls, reality TV, daytime/syndication, drama, comedy, late night and news.
Simon Cowell, whose “X Factor” franchise airs all over the world, topped the list of “Moguls” with a whopping annual salary of $95 million. He was followed by Oprah Winfrey, the purveyor of her OWN cable network ($77 million); and Ryan Seacrest, who has become a reality TV mogul in his own right ($61 million).
When it comes to top earners in the reality TV category, the Kardashian family landed at the top of TV Guide’s list. They earn $10 million per season for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Other top reality earners include Keith Urban from “American Idol” ($5 million per season), Blake Shelton from “The Voice” ($4 million per season), Jeff Probst from “Survivor” ($4 million per season), and Phil Keoghan from “The Amazing Race” ($2 million per season). Vicki Gunvalson is the highest paid “Real Housewife,” coming in at $450,000 per season. The Robertson family from “Duck Dynasty” earns $250,000 per episode. Now, that’s something to quack about.
In the world of daytime and syndication TV, Judge Judy reigns supreme with an annual salary of $47 million. According to CNN, she generates about $200 million in ad revenue for CBS. Kelly Ripa ($20 million), Maury Povich ($14 million), Katie Couric ($10 million), and Michael Strahan ($4 million) also made TV Guide’s list for their high annual salaries.
The top earners in drama TV include Simon Baker from “The Mentalist;” plus Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo and Sandra-Oh from “Grey’s Anatomy.” They all pull in a very respectable salary of $350,000 per episode. The top comedy TV earners are Ashton Kutcher ($750,000 per episode) and Jon Cryer ($650,000 per episode) from “Two and a Half Men.” Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory” tied for third by earning $325,000 per episode.
Jon Stewart is king of the late night TV jungle with a reported annual salary of $25-$30 million. Jay Leno and David Letterman aren’t doing too badly with annual salaries of $20 million. Conan O’Brien comes in at $12 million, followed by Jimmy Fallon ($11 million), Jimmy Kimmel ($10 million), and Craig Ferguson ($8 million).
Matt Lauer is the highest paid newsman, coming in with an annual salary of $22-$25 million. Bill O’Reilly ($17 million), Brian Williams ($13 million), Diane Sawyer ($12 million), and Anderson Cooper ($10 million) also made the prestigious 2013 list.
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