Charlie Sheen, Mariska Hargitay Among TV's Highest Paid Stars

Charlie Sheen and Mariska Hargitay Charlie Sheen and Mariska Hargitay

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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