Talk shows have been around for quite some time, because people love a good sensational story, along with the opportunity to shout their opinions directly to the people involved in these stories. Most would admit it beats yelling at the television screen, if you’re a fan of talk shows and love being in the audience.
But aside from the tabloid nature of talk shows like Jerry Springer, there are also thought-provoking talk shows that encourage people to give back to their local communities and support worthy causes. Of course, there’s also an entertaining element to talk shows, especially when top celebrities are on the guest list. If you’re able to be in the audience when your favorite star comes on a talk show, it’s likely an experience you won’t forget.
Even though many talk shows have been headed by men, there are several female hosts who are continuing to make their mark in daytime television. It’s been said that women naturally have the gift of gab, and these ladies are definitely cashing in on their talent by making us think, giving us a laugh or two, and sometimes evoking unforgettable emotional responses. Here are 10 of the richest talk show hosts, who just happen to be women.
10 Robin Roberts - $14 Million
Robin Roberts was a sportscaster on ESPN for years before becoming a staple on ABC’s Good Morning America. She was an athlete in college, which definitely helped her to prepare for her 15-year ESPN role. Roberts has been with ABC since 2002, and started working for Good Morning America in 2005. Robin Roberts has also been treated for myelodysplastic syndrome and breast cancer, and received a bone marrow transplant from her sister, which contributed greatly to her healing. Her positive attitude in the face of adversity is likely part of what attracts viewers, since her net worth is around $14 million.
9 Wendy Williams - $17.5 Million
Wendy Williams, who was once a popular radio personality, has certainly made a name for herself in daytime television with The Wendy Williams Show. She’s even won the Billboard Award for Best On-Air Personality for her work in radio. The ratings for her talk show continue to rise, as Williams dishes on the latest celebrity news and gossip. She’s had everyone from controversial tabloid celebs to government officials and medical professionals on her show, so there’s something for everyone. Williams’ net worth is at $17.5 million, and she continues to build on that, since she recently introduced a new line of clothing and accessories on HSN, and is often selected to host reality show reunion specials.
8 Gayle King - $20 Million
Gayle King is a co-host on CBS This Morning. King is a respected veteran journalist in her own right, although she is best known for being Oprah Winfrey’s best friend. The two met long before they were famous figures, when they worked together in Baltimore at a television station. Previous to her stint at CBS, King hosted a show called Cover to Cover, and in 1997, she was the host of her own talk show, The Gayle King Show. She also hosted a talk show on her BFF’s network, OWN, before joining the CBS team. While Gayle King isn’t rolling in the dough quite as much as Oprah, she’s still doing pretty well, with a net worth of $20 million.
7 Meredith Vieira - $30 Million
Meredith Vieira started out as a broadcast journalist and was even a correspondent for 60 Minutes, at one time. She also served as co-anchor for CBS Morning News, and in 2006, she was Katie Couric’s replacement on The Today Show. But before she became a fixture on The Today Show, she was one of the original hosts of The View, where she spent nearly 10 years and likely became a household name during this time. In 2011, Meredith Vieira decided to leave The Today Show in order to spend more time with her family. Three years later, she returned to daytime with The Meredith Vieira Show, a show that focuses on current events, health and wellness topics, fashion and celebrities. Her net worth is approximately $30 million.
6 Whoopi Goldberg - $45 Million
Whoopi Goldberg is well-known for her roles in films like The Color Purple, Ghost and The Sister Act movie franchise. She has even made Sister Act into a Broadway play. Whoopi Goldberg, who is also a comedienne, is one of the few actors to have an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. Goldberg is now one of the main hosts on The View, and has a net worth of $45 million. Her strong opinions as the moderator of the show keep the program both informative and somewhat orderly. She is one of the founders of Comic Relief, a nonprofit organization, and gets back into acting every once in a while, just to switch things up.
5 Katie Couric - $55 Million
Katie Couric was long viewed as the darling of television news, due to her bubbly personality and friendly demeanor. After her long stint as a news anchor for CBS, Couric branched out to host her own daytime talk show, Katie. Her show features a number of popular figures, as well as everyday people who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and professions. Couric’s talk show also addresses women’s social issues and health concerns that pertain to women, which is the perfect way to combine her professional news journalism with the upbeat nature of the talk show. Each year, she takes home $15 million, and has an approximate net worth of $55 million.
4 Rachael Ray - $60 Million
The Food Network star started her own talk show about nine years ago, and has a huge fan-base filled with foodies, as well as those who just want to know how to make simple and nutritious dinners each night. She’s won three Emmy awards for her shows and still has a huge fan base that followed her from Food Network. Her net worth is about $60 million, and that includes her talk show and her food empire, which consists of cookware, cookbooks, seasonings and a line of pet food. Rachael Ray still makes the Food Network and Cooking Channel appearances, since her hit shows 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray’s Week In a Day, are in syndication.
3 Barbara Walters - $150 Million
Barbara Walters is a veteran news anchor who created the hit daytime talk show, The View. She is no longer a regular host on the show, but makes guest appearances now and then, and still lends her executive expertise to the production. Barbara Walters still works with ABC News and hosts special report programs that feature hard-hitting news, such as 20/20. Walters is also the host of 10 Most Fascinating People, which is an annual show that features the most influential figures of the last twelve months. Her work as a journalist and television host has earned her a net worth of approximately $150 million.
2 Ellen DeGeneres - $285 Million
Ellen DeGeneres is a favorite among talk show enthusiasts. Her show is lively and energetic. Each episode starts with a dance from Ellen, and she’s sure to get the audience involved. The comedienne and actor not only has an impressive guest list on her show, but she makes it a point to give to those in need and to surprise hard-working families with unexpected relief, just for the sake of being a good person. She ends each episode with the words “be kind to one another,” and from the looks of her fan base, she practices what she preaches. It’s been said that she took over Oprah’s audience when Winfrey left daytime, and Ellen pulls in about $45 million from her talk show. If you count her stand-up routines and other lucrative investments, her net worth is around $285 million.
1 Oprah Winfrey - $3 Billion
Even though Oprah is no longer a daytime talk show host, there’s no denying that her show was a television staple. She is now an executive producer for several daytime talk shows these days, including The Rachael Ray Show, Dr. Phil and The Nate Berkus Show, which is in syndication. Winfrey is also the CEO of her own network OWN, which is home to reality shows, interview-type programming, news and lifestyle shows, and of course re-runs of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Even though she gave up her hosting gig a few years ago, Winfrey still makes $315 million every year, and is now worth approximately $3 billion. So technically, she’s still the reigning queen of daytime television.