TV’s top earners: Ellen DeGeneres, ’Big Bang Theory’, ‘Game of Thrones’ stars
MANILA, Philippines – Ellen DeGeneres, Robert de Niro, Mark Harmon, and the stars of The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones collect the biggest paychecks in the TV industry, according to estimates made by US entertainment magazine, Variety.
Based on the numbers, it would appear that comedy actors are paid better than those in TV dramas, with comedy’s highest earners getting $100,000 more than drama’s best paid.
Interestingly enough, the stars of CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory earn more than the stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Big Bang’s Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, and Jim Parsons are all estimated to rake in $900,000 per episode. Their paycheck is significantly fatter than those of Thrones stars Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and Lena Headey, who are all estimated to earn $500,000 per episode.
As for TV show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, host of the incredible popular The Ellen DeGeneres Show, leads the pack bringing in an estimated $50 million annually.
Noticeably absent from the top 10 lists are Claire Foy, who despite a multi-award winning turn as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix's The Crown, only rakes in $40,000 per episode,
Top 10 earners for TV/ Drama (salaries per episode)
- Robert De Niro (Amazon’s Untitled David O. Russell project), $775,000
- Mark Harmon (CBS’ NCIS), $525,000
- Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Kevin Costner (Paramount’s Yellowstone), Kevin Spacey (Netflix’s House of Cards), $500,000
- Claire Danes (Showtime’s Homeland), Ellen Pompeo (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy), $450,000
- William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum (Showtime’s Shameless), Billy Bob Thornton (Amazon’s Goliath), $350,000
- Jason Bateman, Laura Linney (Netflix’s Ozark), Anthony Hopkins (HBO’s Westworld), Kiefer Sutherland (ABC’s Designated Survivor), James Spader (NBC’s The Blacklist), $300,000
- Kerry Washington (ABC’s Scandal), $250,000
- Elisabeth Moss (Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale), $200,000
- Jeffrey Donovan (Hulu’s Shut Eye), Michael Weatherly (CBS’ Bull), $175,000
- Bob Odenkirk (AMC's Better Call Saul), $150,000
Top 10 earners for TV/ Comedy (salaries per episode)
- Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons (CBS’ The Big Bang Theory), $900,000
- Dwayne Johnson (HBO’s Ballers), $650,000
- Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch (CBS’ The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O’Neill Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara (ABC’s Modern Family), $500,000
- Jeffrey Tambor (Amazon’s Transparent), $275,000
- Patricia Heaton (ABC’s The Middle), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (HBO’s Veep), Roseanne Barr, John Goodman (ABC’s Roseanne), Sean P. Hayes, Erick McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullaly (NBC’s Will & Grace) $250,000
- Kevin James (CBS’ Kevin Can Wait), Matt LeBlanc (CBS’ Man With a Plan), $200,000
- Ellie Kemper (Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), $150,000
- Nick Nolte, Sela Ward (Epix’s Graves), Leah Remini (CBS’ Kevin Can Wait), Craig Robinson, Adam Scott (Fox’s Ghosted), $125,000
- Tituss Burgess (Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), $90,000
- Donald Glover (FX’s Atlanta), $75,000