Time was when the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and the entire cast of the show Friends
could command a million dollars per episode. Ray Romano of the hit Everybody
Loves Raymond was taking home $2 million at the show’s peak. These numbers
are now things of the past, but the salaries of the stars are still nothing to sneeze at.
Here are the 10 highest paid TV actors and their salaries per episode.
10. Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory – $300,000
Kaley Cuoco started out when she was only 10 years old as part of the movie
Virtuosity. She then appeared in the sitcom Ladies Man and in the television
movie Growing Up Brady. In 2002, she got her big break when she was included
in the sitcom 8 Simple Rules. She was also part of the last season of Charmed
before she was casted as Penny in the hit The Big Bang Theory. The show is a
huge ratings success and has garnered awards from the Emmy’s and the Golden
Globes. She now earns $300,000 per episode, the same amount as her co-stars
Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons.
9. Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock – $300,000
Alec Baldwin got his first acting role in 1980 when he appeared in the daytime soap
called The Doctors. He then co-starred in Knots Landing in the mid 80’s. He also
had roles in movies like Forever, Lulu, Beetlejuice and Working Girl, before
taking on the lead role in The Hunt for Red October. In 2003, he got nominations
from the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild for his role
in The Coolers. In 2006, he took on the role of Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock, a
performance that has won him seven Screen Actors Guild, three Golden Globes and
two Emmy Awards for best actor in a comedy show.
8. Simon Baker, The Mentalist – $300,000
Simon Baker is an Australian actor who started his career in the late 80’s in
Australian shows like E Street, Home and Away and Heartbreak High. After
moving to the United States, he got a minor role in L.A. Confidential. He had roles
in movies like Ride with the Devil, Sunset Strip, Red Planet, The Devil Wears
Prada and Sex and Death 101. He was then given in 2008 the role of Patrick Jane
in the CBS series The Mentalist.
7. Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy – $350,000
Sandra Oh is a Canadian actress of Korean descent. Her first role was in
the Canadian television movie called School’s Out. She then starred in two
biographical television movies about Chinese-Canadians in which she portrayed
Evelyn Lau and Adrienne Clarkson. She then won a Genie Award for Best Actress
for Double Happiness. She then broke through in Hollywood through the films
Under the Tuscan Sun, Sideways and Dancing at the Blue Iguana. She then
landed a role in Grey’s Anatomy that has since earned for her Golden Globe and
Screen Actors Guild awards.
6. Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy – $350,000
Patrick Dempsey is an actor who started out in several theater productions, like
“Torch Song Trilogy” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” When he was 21, he broke
through in the movie world via the film In the Mood. He then starred in several teen
comedies, like Can’t Buy Me Love, Some Girls, Loverboy and Happy Together.
He was also in Scream 3 and Sweet Home Alabama. He then got the role of
Dr. Derek Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy, a performance that brought him national
prominence and acclaim as he received a nomination in the 2006 Golden Globes.
Called in the show as McDreamy, he was also ranked the sexiest man on TV in
5. Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy – $350,000
Ellen Pompeo is an actress who began with minor roles in television shows like
Friends, Law & Order and Strangers with Candy. She then appeared in films like
Moonlight Mile, Catch Me If You Can and Old School. She was also in Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but her scenes were cut from the final movie. She
then got the lead role in Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Meredith Grey. She received a
Golden Globe nomination for her performance in 2007.
4. Tina Fey, 30 Rock – $350,000
Tina Fey is an actress, comedienne, writer and producer. She has worked on
different movies, such as Mean Girls, Baby Mama, Date Night and Admission.
She is also widely known for her work on Saturday Night Live. In 2008, the
Associated Press adjudged her Entertainer of the Year for her spot-on portrayal of
Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate. She is also the youngest
awardee of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. She is also behind the
critically acclaimed 30 Rock which has won for her seven Emmy’s, two Golden
Globes, five Screen Actors Guild and four Writers Guild of America awards.
3. Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – $385,000
Mariska Hargitay is the daughter of 1950’s sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. She started
out as Miss Beverly Hills U.S.A. when she was 18 years old. She made her movie
debut in the 1985 horror comedy movie called Ghoulies. She was also part of
the adventure drama series Downtown. She then appeared in shows like Falcon
Crest, Seinfeld, Ellen, Baywatch and The Single Guy. She then won the role
of Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 1999.
2. Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men – $600,000
Jon Cryer is an actor who rose to fame in the 80’s through movies like No Small
Affair and Pretty in Pink. He was also part of several short-lived shows on
television, like The Famous Teddy Z, Partners and The Trouble with Normal. He
got the role of Alan Harper in Two and a Half Men in 2003, which has won for him
1. Ashton Kutcher, Two and a Half Men – $700,000
Ashton Kutcher first became known as part of the hit That ‘70s Show. He also
created and hosted Punk’d. He appeared in films like Dude, Where’s My Car?,
Just Married, The Butterfly Effect and What Happens in Vegas. He is also the
creator of the reality show Beauty and the Geek. In 2011, he joined the cast of
Two and a Half Men as Walden Schmidt, effectively replacing Charlie Sheen in the
hit comedy series.
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