Oprah’s Salary and Other Top TV Earners

A role on a major TV show is still a pretty sweet gig, but networks are cracking down on stars’ salaries. The going rate for stars was once $150,000 to $200,000 per episode, but new shows are now offering significantly less—between $75,000 and $125,000. Hugh Laurie was the top-earning actor in a drama series, pulling in $400,000 for each episode of House. Oprah, of course, earned the most of any talk show host, with $315 million a year. With his $15 million annual paycheck, American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest was the reality star who made the most cash, while Charlie Sheen made $1.25 million for each episode of Two and a Half Men. Today’s Matt Lauer edged out his former coworker Katie Couric of CBS Evening News for top honors among news anchors, with $16 million to her $15 million.