TV Star Salaries

by Melissa Silverstein on August 13, 2010

in Actresses,Statistics,TV

Hey folks.  Good news.  If you scare the crap out of your ex-wife and then get arrested for beating your current wife you too can be the highest paid TV star by far.

Yes, Charlie Sheen a man with some serious anger issues (especially towards the women in his life) is the highest paid TV star making $1.25 million per 30 minute episode of Two and a Half Men.  That’s almost $42,000 per minute (and I am including commercials.)

Hugh Laurie (House) is the highest paid person on the drama side with $400,000 per episode, but Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni of SVU are biting his heels each making $395,000.  The women on Desperate Housewives are the highest paid women on TV with all four female leads making $400,000 each

Here are the other female salaries on TV:

Drama (per episode)
Mariska Hargitay (SVU) $395,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)  $350,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife ) $175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof ) $150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats) $30,000

Comedy (per episode)
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons) $400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock) $350,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) $175,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) $75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Jane Lynch (Glee) $50,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) $30,000

Who Are TV’s Top Earners? (TV Guide)


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Development Belle August 13, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Interesting to note the only African American woman to make the list is Jada Pinkett Smith…

Thomai in L.A. August 15, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Development Belle:

Oprah Winfrey $315 million

Kelsey August 18, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Why does Betty White only get $75k?! She’s been around longer and should be making significantly more!

Sarah August 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Your comments about Charlie Sheen seem to detract from the point your post is trying to make. Is Charlie Sheen an asshole in his personal life? Certainly. But the fact is that professionally, he is doing his job and doing it well, and he’s an experienced actor with many professional credits to his name. Why should his personal life have any effect whatsoever on his pay? While Charlie Sheen is still a public figure and his life is still on display for all to see, he is hardly considered by anyone to be a role model or an example to follow. Angry people have to work and earn a living, too, and they should be compensated fairly if they are competently doing their jobs and earning money for their employers.

I’m not denying that Charlie Sheen’s salary is ridiculously high – as Kelsey points out, Betty White is an experienced professional actor too, and getting paid only 6% of Charlie Sheen’s salary. But your comments about him seem to imply that the reason he shouldn’t be getting paid so much is because he’s an asshole in his personal life, not because he’s professionally incompetent – and, as I said, that seems to me to detract from the point you are trying to make about the salaries of women on TV.

Don Shaeffer November 4, 2010 at 9:17 PM

It seems somewhat confusing that we pay ‘tv stars’ many times what the President of the United States makes. What does that tell us about our priorities? Do we wish to be entertained and consider it more important than the world changing decisions that our President makes?

Chuck Williams February 21, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Wow-people starving and homeless and these greedy sob’s refusing $395,000 per episode-

Rachel March 28, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Well, we know who the racist is, Development Belle. On a more important note, how much do these “stars” actually take home after taxes and their staff takes their cut?

Heath Booton June 22, 2012 at 6:51 PM

hello!,I really like your writing so a lot! share we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist in this house to unravel my problem. Maybe that is you! Having a look ahead to look you.

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