Everybody’s Talking About How Much TV Stars Make

…Because money, you know, has always had kind of a loud voice:

The highest paid star on TV. Hi, David!

Who Earns What: TV’s Highest Paid Stars – by Stephen Battaglio and Michael Schneider

Drama (per episode)
Mark Harmon (NCIS): $500,000
Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy): $350,000
Kevin Bacon (The Following): $175,000
Lucy Liu (Elementary): $125,000
Stephen Amell (Arrow): $30,000

Comedy (per episode)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men): $700,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory): $300,000
Modern Family
 Adult Cast: $175,000 each
Lea Michele (Glee): $75,000
Crystal the Monkey (Animal Practice): $12,000

Late Night (per year)
David Letterman: $28 million
Jay Leno: $25 million
Jon Stewart: $16 million
Craig Ferguson: $8 million
Chelsea Handler: $8 million

Daytime/Syndication (per year)
Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy): $45 million
Joe Brown (Judge Joe Brown): $20 million
Kelly Ripa (Live! With Kelly): $20 million
Sherri Shepherd (The View): $1.5 million
Mario Batali (The Chew): $6,000 per episode

Reality
Mariah Carey (American Idol): $17 million per season
Howard Stern (America’s Got Talent): $15 million per season
Pauly DelVecchio (Jersey Shore): $175,000 per episode
Betty White (Off Their Rockers): $50,000 per episode
Landry Family (Swamp People): $25,000 per episode

News (per year)
Matt Lauer (Today): $21.5 million
Bill O’Reilly (The O’Reilly Factor): $15 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC World News): $12 million
Anderson Cooper (Anderson Cooper 360 and Anderson Live): $11 million
Robin Meade (HLN anchor): $750,000

Read it all

This article contains a lot of verbiage we’ve cut out, mainly analyses of current showbiz economics and why in an era of big cutbacks everywhere some stars still are getting huge raises. We admit that, regardless of circumstances and reasons, we’re more than a little impressed by David Letterman’s $28 million paycheck. (Plus, we’re sure, added moolah in the form of commitments to his production company/reimbursement for expenses, etc.)

But, for writers, here’s the good news: There are showrunners who make more. Can’t name any names, but there are more than one. So if money’s your thing, don’t despair. WRITE!!!

And if money isn’t your thing, remember: The Great Thinkers whose thoughts have endured for thousands of years tell us it isn’t the money that counts, it’s the art. And those guys (Sophocles, Jesus, Stan Lee) knew.

Now if I could only convince my parents (and my landlord and…).