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Which TV stars make the biggest bank?

Do you want to know who’s earning what in television? TV stars are making big bucks and we’ve got their salaries to prove it.

Jon Stewart

These days, television is where it’s at. It offers variety for viewers, and more interesting roles for actors. Traditionally, the leap from the big to the small screen includes a pay cut, but according to TV Guide, the stars’ pockets are fatter than ever.

The magazine released a list of the highest-earning TV actors and personalities. Each category is broken down as follows: Drama, Comedy, Reality, Late Night, News, Daytime/Syndication. You’d be surprised to know who’s on top the heap.

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Jon Stewart, who headlines The Daily Show, reportedly rakes in between $25–30 million per year. We guess it pays to be funny and informative. For drama series, NCIS‘ Mark Harmon leaves everyone in the dust with his $525,000 per episode, plus a percentage of the show’s profits.

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On the comedy side, a familiar face reigns supreme — Ashton Kutcher. After taking over for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, he’s enjoyed the steady pay of $750,000 an episode. Meanwhile, the Reality TV category belongs to Howard Stern, who makes $15 million a year for America’s Got Talent.

Check out the full list below:

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): $500,000
Photo credit: WENN

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