Here Are the Salaries for TV's Highest Paid Actors

When watching your favorite TV show, have you ever wondered how much the lead actor is making? Or what about just a regular supporting actor? You'd probably assume they're all making millions and millions of dollars, but that isn't necessarily the case. However, the most high-profile actors are definitely breaking the bank while starring in on the small screen. But exactly how much are we talking?

Variety, an entertainment industry insider publication, released a list of the highest paid actors in television and how much they make. Unsurprisingly, some of the most popular shows have the highest paid performers. But there's also some surprises. You won't believe how much some daytime talk shows are making. 

Here's a list of some of the highest-paid actors broken down by genre:


  1. Robert de Niro, Untitled David O. Russell project– $775,000 per episode
  2. Mark Harmon, NCIS– $525,000 per episode
  3. Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones– $500,000 per episode
  4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones– $500,000 per episode
  5. Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones– $500,000 per episode
  6. Kit Harington, Game of Thrones– $500,000 per episode
  7. Kevin Costner, Yellowstone– $500,000 per episode
  8. Kevin Spacey, House of Cards– $500,000 per episode
  9. Claire Danes, Homeland– $450,000 per episode
  10. William H. Macy, Shameless– $350,000 per episode


  1. Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory– $900,000 per episode
  2. Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory– $900,000 per episode
  3. Simon Helberg, The Big Bang Theory– $900,000 per episode
  4. Kunal Nayyar, The Big Bang Theory– $900,000 per episode
  5. Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory– $900,000 per episode
  6. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ballers– $650,000 per episode
  7. Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory– $500,000 per episode
  8. Julie Bowen, Modern Family– $500,000 per episode
  9. Ty Burrell, Modern Family– $500,000 per episode
  10. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family– $500,000 per episode

Reality/News/TV Show Host

  1. Ellen DeGeneres, The Ellen DeGeneres Show– $50 million annually
  2. Judge Judy, Judge Judy– $47 million annually
  3. Matt Lauer, Today Show– $25 million annually
  4. Katy Perry, American Idol– $25 million annually
  5. Kelly Ripa, Live with Kelly & Ryan– $22 million annually
  6. Megyn Kelly, NBC News– $18 million annually
  7. Robin Roberts, Good Morning America– $18 million annually
  8. Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show– $16 million annually
  9. Stephen Colbert, The Late Show– $15 million annually
  10. Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel Live– $15 million annually

The fact that most of the cast of The Big Bang Theory makes more money per episode than the stars of Game of Thrones just shows you how weird the television business is.


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