Charlie Sheen, Mariska Hargitay Among TV’s Highest Paid Stars
First Published: September 30, 2009 3:13 PM EDT Credit: Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Charlie Sheen is at the top of the scripted TV heap, according to TV Guide.
The mag reported that the “Two and a Half Men” star takes home $875,000 an episode for his role as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom.
Last year, “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini led the pack with a whopping $1 million an episode for the final season of the HBO mob drama.
Among the rest of TV’s highest paid men in 2009 are “24” star Keifer Sutherland ($550,000 an episode), “House” doctor Hugh Laurie ($400,000) and Christopher Meloni of “Law & Order: SVU” ($400,000).
Lower down on the list were such stars as “30 Rock’s” Alec Baldwin ($300,000), “Grey’s Anatomy’s” McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey ($250,000) and “Mad Men” main man Jon Hamm, who earns $75,000 per episode – just above “Gossip Girl” star Chace Crawford ($50,000).
On the ladies’ side, Christopher Meloni’s “Law & Order: SVU” counterpart brings home top dollar – along with a quartet of successful “Housewives.”
Mariska Hargitay earns $400,000 an episode for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC’s “SVU,” tying her with four “Desperate Housewives” stars – Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marica Cross and Felicity Huffman.
TV’s other highest-paid women include “30 Rock” creator Tina Fey ($300,000) and “The Closer’s” Kyra Sedgwick ($275,000).
However, actors aren’t the only ones in TV land with serious paychecks. Among the stars of late night, CBS’ David Letterman earns $32 million a year, outdistancing the salary of any actor – and also his NBC competitors, Jay Leno ($30 million) and Conan O’Brien ($14 million). And a number of newscasters are also top earners, led by Katie Couric at $15 million a year and Matt Lauer at $13 million.
And in the world of reality, generally bargain rates compared to scripted television, some stars still earn paychecks to write home about. Ryan Seacrest earns $15 million a year for his “American Idol” hosting duties, while reality stars such as former couple Jon and Kate Gosselin take home $75,000 an episode for TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” No word yet if that number may shift in November, when the show relaunches as a Jon-free “Kate Plus 8.”
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