New York: Judge Judy Sheindlin has topped the highest paid TV personality list with an earning of 45 million dollars per year.
Matt Lauer makes 21.5 million dollars-a-year for doing two hours in the morning and David Letterman makes 28 million dollars for doing an hour at night.
According to the annual “Who Earns What” survey by TV Guide, Simon Cowell of Fox’s ‘X Factor’ actually earns more.
Survey coauthor Stephen Battaglio, with Forbes magazine estimates his annual income at 90 million dollars.
But much of that comes from production and show ownership.
The TV Guide report said that Sheindlin’s fellow syndicated TV judge Joe Brown earns 20 million dollars - the same as Kelly Ripa for her syndicated morning show.
In addition to NBC’s Lauer, CBS’s Letterman, Sheindlin, Brown and Ripa, TV’s 20-million-dollar club includes NBC’s Jay Leno at 25 million dollars, the New York Daily News reported.
In contrast, the highest paid actor in a scripted drama is Mark Harmon of CBS’s ‘NCIS,’ at 500,000 dollars an episode or 11 million dollars for a full season.
Mariska Hargitay of NBC’s ‘Law and Order: SVU’ is second with 385,000 dollars an episode, following by three ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ stars on ABC, Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, at 350,000 dollars an episode each.
The top two sitcom earners, by a wide margin, are on the same CBS show, ‘Two and a Half Men.’
Ashton Kutcher rings in at 700,000 dollars an episode and Jon Cryer gets 600,000 dollars.
Their closest competitor is Tina Fey of NBC’s ‘30 Rock,’ at 350,000 dollars.