An emerging trend in the entertainment world is big-name actors and actresses ditching Hollywood and major motion pictures for the small screen and television shows. It is easy to understand why they are making those business decisions. The highest paid television actors in the world all make at least $12 million off of those roles per a story that was published by Forbes in August of 2015. Not all that surprising is that some of the most popular shows on television are represented in the list of the highest paid TV actors. Those actors help stations that air these programs make a ton of money every year, and the men are well worth the cash that they are paid.
Those who are avid viewers of the network are probably familiar with those commercials that claim CBS is the “No. 1 network” in the United States. Things must be going swimmingly for that network, as it is paying out a small fortune to a variety of actors. CBS has out-performed the other members of the so-called “Big Four” networks as it pertains to transitioning from comedy shows to dramas and crime hits that have grown in popularity among fans. Those other stations have a lot of work to do if they are to even flirt with catching up to CBS.
The Big Bang Theory is commonly referred to as the top and the most-watched show on television. It is also a program that does not technically have a lead character. The four men who are mainstays of The Big Bang Theory are all among the highest paid TV actors of 2015, but there can only be one king of the list. The man who has been responsible for playing a unique character that will live on in memories long after the show goes off the air is should be financially secure for the rest of his life, and he has picked up other big roles because of his work on the CBS show.
T9. Simon Baker: $12 Million
How you best know the name Simon Baker depends on where you have seen him perform during his career. Baker has had roles in movies such as The Devil Wears Prada, he was the lead on the television series The Guardian, and he was the main man on the CBS show The Mentalist. Fans of the program received bad news in September of 2014 when it was learned that the seventh season would be the final one for the hit show, which will now live on via syndication, DVD sales and streaming services. You can be sure that Baker won’t be hurting for work down the road.
T9. Patrick Dempsey: $12 Million
It was over a decade ago when Patrick Dempsey was an actor from another time who would not have been thought of for a main television role. Dempsey then found a home on Grey’s Anatomy, which proved to resurrect his acting life and open up all kinds of opportunities for him. SPOILER ALERT: The writers of the show chose to kill off Dempsey’s character earlier this year, and it is not yet known if he would sign on for a similar series that is responsible for two-dozen shows a year. Dempsey will have plenty of projects to choose from both in front of cameras and also behind the scenes.
T7. Ray Romano: $15 Million
Some fans of the NBC drama Parenthood were not pleased to learn that Ray Romano would be linking up with the program as a romantic interest for Sarah Braverman starting in 2012. Romano proved to be the right man for the role, and he remained on the program up through the final episode, one which aired in the winter of 2015. The relationship that Romano’s character had with Sarah’s nephew who has Asperger syndrome was an entertaining and positive twist for the program, and it added just another layer for a drama that was at times under-appreciated by television viewers who chose to ignore the show.
T7. Jon Cryer: $15 Million
All good things must come to an end, teaches the well-known adage, and that was the case for Two and a Half Men in 2015. It was probably for the best, as the Alan Harper character that was played by Jon Cryer had become an unlikeable shell of the individual that was originally portrayed during the program’s first season. Cryer probably has a few reasons to be upset with Charlie Sheen and Angus T. Jones, as those two went out of the way to hurt the Two and a Half Men brand in their own ways. Now that the show is over, Cryer will be able to move on to the drama NCIS and to Broadway shows.
T3. Ashton Kutcher: $20 Million
You have to give Ashton Kutcher a lot of credit for having a smart business mind. The star of the hit program That ’70s Show stepped up to the plate when Charlie Sheen surprised many in the entertainment world when he walked away from Two and a Half Men and from a ton of money, and Kutcher deserves praise for being a reason that the show hung around for as long as it did before the series finale aired in the winter of 2015. Kutcher not only kept the show alive for a fan base that did not want to follow in Sheen’s footsteps. He also cashed in on some massive paydays in the process.
T3. Kunal Nayyar: $20 Million
The Big Bang Theory gets rolling in this piece with the man who plays the role of Dr. Raj Koothrapali. All of the main characters on the show hold special places in the hearts of fans, but Raj sticks out because of his shyness and because of his difficulties in finding love. The truth of the matter is that Raj probably deserves a soul mate more so than any other character on the show because of his personality and likeability. Some diehard fans of The Big Bang Theory may, however, suggest that Raj has already found his one true love, and it is a character played by the next man on this list.
T3. Simon Helberg: $20 Million
Even those who love the relationship had by Howard Wolowitz and his wife Bernadette have to admit that it would be a funny and logical conclusion for Howard and Raj to end up together in the end. Those two crazy kids have made for the ultimate non-couple of The Big Bang Theory, and it has even been joked on multiple occasions that the two could have romantic feelings for each other. Nobody wants to see poor Bernie get her heart broken, though, so the writers would have to come up with a happy ending for her. Oh, what could be if those in charge of the show were to get creative.
T3. Mark Harmon: $20 Million
Mark Harmon was once an “80s It Boy” during a time when he was named “The Sexiest Man Alive.” Younger television viewers who were not around to enjoy St. Elsewhere and Moonlighting may have first been introduced to Harmon for his role as a Secret Service Special Agent on the NBC drama The West Wing. Those appearances led to similar gigs, most notably the role of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS series NCIS. Harmon is now most known for playing Agent Gibbs and for helping launch what has become one of the most successful brands among TV dramas.
2. Johnny Galecki: $27 Million
You may have forgotten about Johnny Galecki following his role as David Healy in Roseanne after that show went off the air, most notably because he was never a main character in a hit television show or for a major movie. That all changed when viewers were introduced to Dr. Leonard Hofstadler and to The Big Bang Theory. Leonard was, in earlier episodes of the program, featured as the main male character on The Big Bang Theory, as it is his on-again, off-again relationship with Penny that serves as the dominant storyline across multiple seasons. The four main men on the show are now more equals than what was presented in the first season, although Galecki is second to a co-star on this list.
1. Jim Parsons: $29 Million
Jim Parsons was, in the public eye, a nobody when the first episode of The Big Bang Theory aired on CBS. The Sheldon Cooper character has since become a television mainstay and a part of society who is featured on t-shirts and Internet memes. Parsons has become the star of the show over time, and his ability to portray the varying aspects of the Cooper character are a big reason for why The Big Bang Theory has become so popular. It is hard to argue with Parsons being the highest paid actor in TV for 2015, and he is going to continue earning millions of dollars for as long as new seasons of the program are created.