Ashton Kutcher makes $700,000 per episode for his role in helping salvage CBS’s comedy series “Two and a Half Men,” but Mark Harmon “only” makes $500,000 episode for starring in the country’s most popular scripted series, CBS’s “NCIS.”
David Letterman makes $28 million a year to host CBS’s flagship late-night show, but Judy Sheindlin makes $45 million as star of TV’s most popular syndicated series “Judge Judy” — in case you were wondering why news talent is migrating at such a clip to the wonderful world of daytime syndicationm, Katie Couric being the latest entry in the list.
All this, according to TV Guide magazine’s annual Who Earns What list.
Some other interesting factoids:
Lucy Liu will make $125,000 for playing Sherlock Holmes’s sidekick/sober coach Watson on new CBS drama “Elementary.” But Crystal the Monkey, who steals every scene in NBC’s new comedy series “Animal Practice” and who will soon be known as The Monkey Who Saved NBC, makes just $12,000 per episode. Which, of course, she has to split with her handler.
Even so, “Animal Practice” writers tweeted Thursday that the TV Guide list “has created a lot of uncomfortable tension between the crew & one member of our cast….Thanks, @TVGuideMazagine.”
Speaking of Handler, Chelsea Handler makes $8 million a year for headlining E!Entertainment’s late night show “Chelsea Lately.”
And, assuming “Animal Practice” gets a full-season order when it officially launches in September (though NBC is airing the entire pilot episode, sans commercials, this Sunday after the Closing Ceremony of the London Games), Crystal still will make less in an entire TV season than “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo makes in one episode’s worth of scenery chewing -- $350,000.
When it comes to TV news on-air talent, Matt Lauer, we all now know, makes about $21.5 million a year which, according to TV Guide, is slightly less than the $25 million NBC late night star Jay Leno makes annually. FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, meanwhile, pulls in a cool $15 million a year -- $1 million less than Comedy Central star Jon Stewart who makes $16 million.