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TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old August 12 2010, 10:09 PM   #1
Caliburn24
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TV Pays

TV Guide put up an interesting article recently of TV stars and what they get paid. I had heard of the Seinfeld and Friends casts getting huge paychecks, but somehow it never struck me that those sort of numbers were common in the business. Boy was I wrong...

Drama (per episode)

Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS) $375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY ) $275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
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
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O'Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O'Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified ) $100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) $40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats) $30,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)

Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show) $28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show) $25 million
Conan O'Brien (The Conan O'Brien Show) $10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show) $8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live) $6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately) $3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight) $3.5 million

Reality (per year)

Ryan Seacrest
(American Idol) $15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup) $2 million
Piers Morgan (America's Got Talent) $2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8) $250,000 per episode
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (Jersey Shore) $30,000 per episode

Comedy (per episode)

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men) $1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) $550,000
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
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons) $400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons) $400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock) $350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage) $350,000
Steve Carell (The Office) $297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men) $250,000
David Duchovny (Californication) $200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage) $200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage) $200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) $175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) $150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement) $150,000
Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) $100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement) $85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) $75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family) $50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee) $50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) $40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee) $30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) $30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) $20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) $15,000

News (per year)

Matt Lauer (Today) $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today) $11 million
Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000
Full article at http://www.tvguide.com/News/Top-TV-Earners-1021717.aspx

What jumps out at me immediately is how can shows like Two and a Half Men and Desperate Housewives be profitable when they're paying their leads 1.75 million and 1.6 million respectively in total?

Also, comedy stars appear to be able to command higher paychecks, why would that be?
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Old August 12 2010, 10:42 PM   #2
Snaploud
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Re: TV Pays

Keep in mind that those are all hit tv shows. The tv business is designed around the idea that, if you get a hit tv show, you cash in for as long as you can...because it could all disappear tomorrow. 4 or 5 years on a hit tv show may have to last them the rest of their lives, and it's supposed to make up for years of being paid very little. Plus, it's a one-time fee. You're unlikely to get a major cut (or any cut) of DVD sales.

Edit: The highest paychecks are often for shows that have already been hits for a good amount of years. Those shows have already made a boat-load of cash in advertisement fees and DVDS, and the actors only now have a chance to cash-in on the money train.
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Old August 13 2010, 12:32 AM   #3
Trekker4747
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Re: TV Pays

There's something fucked up when Charlie Sheen on a shit sitcom makes three times as much as the awesome that is Hugh Laurie on one of the best medical dramas on TV.
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Old August 13 2010, 12:43 AM   #4
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Re: TV Pays

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
There's something fucked up when Charlie Sheen on a shit sitcom makes three times as much as the awesome that is Hugh Laurie on one of the best medical dramas on TV.
Two-and-a-half men ranked number 11 in the ratings last year. House was ranked number 22. House was ranked higher in some earlier seasons, but it's all about where you are when they start contract negotiations.

Edit: Plus, Charlie Sheen was probably able to actually convince executives that he might not accept a lower offer (given his personal life). That probably helped up his rate.
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Old August 13 2010, 01:00 AM   #5
Trekker4747
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Re: TV Pays

Snaploud wrote: View Post
Two-and-a-half men ranked number 11 in the ratings last year. House was ranked number 22. House was ranked higher in some earlier seasons, but it's all about where you are when they start contract negotiations.
Ugh. That many people watch 2.5 Men to make it rated #11?

Somehow I lose more faith in society.
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Old August 13 2010, 02:19 AM   #6
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Re: TV Pays

I had no idea that shrill brat Miranda Cosgrove was worth so much fucking money.
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Old August 13 2010, 02:21 AM   #7
Temis the Vorta
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Re: TV Pays

Also, comedy stars appear to be able to command higher paychecks, why would that be?
Probably because a good comedy can make a lot more in syndication than a good drama. Also, comedy is really hard. I've noticed that good comedians tend to be good dramatic actors if & when they give it a shot, but the reverse is not so often true...

Matt Bomer making $100K vs Zach Levi at $60K? Something not right bout that.
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Old August 13 2010, 02:48 AM   #8
Trekker4747
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Re: TV Pays

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Probably because a good comedy can make a lot more in syndication than a good drama. Also, comedy is really hard.
Which makes Charlie Sheen's pay even more of a mystery.
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Old August 13 2010, 11:42 AM   #9
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Re: TV Pays

I would have thought both Bones actors would be on the list in the same place.
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Old August 13 2010, 01:36 PM   #10
Starbreaker
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Re: TV Pays

The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family actors need to renegotiate big time.
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Old August 13 2010, 05:54 PM   #11
Mr. Adventure
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Re: TV Pays

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
There's something fucked up when Charlie Sheen on a shit sitcom makes three times as much as the awesome that is Hugh Laurie on one of the best medical dramas on TV.
Going by the numbers I guess Jon Cryer may be the Half Man in the title. Heck, even the kid on that show makes nearly as much as Steve Carrell.

Who'da thought Judge Judy outearned Letterman?
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Old August 13 2010, 07:00 PM   #12
Professor Zoom
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Re: TV Pays

As was said up thread, consider how much money is brought in by half hour comedies in syndication. How many markets are Friends or 2 and a Half Men in repeats, how many times a day? Compared to House?

AND, in regards to pay per episode, don't forget EACH actor is ALSO getting residuals from both repeats, syndication AND DVD sales.
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Old August 13 2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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Re: TV Pays

A lot of these guys like Letterman and Laurie are also big behind the scenes and probably make far more than what these numbers show.
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Old August 13 2010, 07:54 PM   #14
Samurai8472
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Re: TV Pays

Caliburn24 wrote: View Post
Also, comedy stars appear to be able to command higher paychecks, why would that be?
Most executive produce their show and they get a cut of syndication money.


Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) $40,000
C'mon, that's less than what IT people make. I agree, time to renegotiate or at least around season 5.
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Old August 13 2010, 08:16 PM   #15
Holdfast
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Re: TV Pays

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (Jersey Shore) $30,000 per episode
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