With the sizable audience of services like HBO or Hulu, Hollywood now has to shell out some big bucks to their TV actors, particularly those that are household names. The small screen might be the place to be if you want to make some serious cash. Take a look below at a few of the highest-paid TV stars per episode.
Mariska Hargitay – $500,000
Most actors pursue some kind of variety in their careers. It is rare that an artist chooses to play the same character for the entirety of their time in Hollywood. However, that is exactly what Mariska Hargitay has done. Not only that, but she has also found massive success reprising her role as Olivia Benson on the hit procedural "Law & Order: SVU."
Perhaps it is the money that keeps Hargitay returning to the small screen year after year. Nineteen seasons after the show first premiered in 1999, Hargitay now makes $500,000 per episode. That’s roughly $12 million per season!
Tim Allen – $1.25 million
Tim Allen has been in everything. Most people will probably recognize his voice more than his appearance, especially when he was saying stuff like "too infinity and beyond" in the classic "Toy Story" series. But before he was Santa Claus or even the recognizable voice of Buzz Lightyear, Allen was the lead of "Home Improvement."
As handyman Tim Taylor, Allen earned $1.25 million per episode. The decision to shoot the show was a defining moment in Allen’s career that set up him for massive success down the line. And if that kind of money doesn't improve your home, then nothing will!
Paul Reiser – $1 million
In the hit sitcom "Mad About You," Paul Reiser starred as the primary love interest opposite actress Helen Hunt. In the role, Reiser and Hunt displayed such chemistry that they easily attracted millions of viewers who had to see how their story ended.
For his hard work as a dreamy love interest, Reiser was paid $1 million per episode. After the sitcom ended, Reiser went off to star in many other illustrious projects, including the Academy-Award-nominated "Whiplash." It wasn't the lead role by any means, but Reiser still stole every scene he was in. He also showed up in "Stranger Things."
Adult Cast Members of Modern Family – $500,000
While "Modern Family" came to an end not too long ago, it seared itself in people’s minds as a lovable, family-friendly TV show. The series features a collection of popular actors, each of whom brings something special to the show.
As the show became more and more successful, the cast was rewarded for their hard work. The adults of the show, including Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, and Eric Stonestreet all earned $500,000 per episode. We'd go as far as to say that all of these stars have enough money now to build their very own modern families.
Ellen Pompeo – $575,000
Ellen Pompeo has been the focal point of Grey’s Anatomy since the very first season. She plays Meredith Grey, a surgeon in training at a large hospital. Over the years, Pompeo has been very vocal about her attempts to negotiate a higher paycheck. Her persistence paid off, and she now makes $575,000 per episode.
Grey’s Anatomy is already in its 16th season, and it’s unclear if the show will slow down anytime soon. It has declined in success over the years, but it still has a dedicated fan base who continues to watch week after week.
Patrick Dempsey – $350,000
While working on "Grey’s Anatomy," Patrick Dempsey continued working in film and had quite a successful career. However, he chose to continue in his role as Dr. McDreamy, likely because of the $350,000 paycheck per episode. And we don't blame him for that, by any means.
When McDreamy met his untimely demise, Dempsey’s paychecks also came to an end. But after eleven seasons on the show, Dempsey made quite a pretty penny playing a doctor. Why go to medical school when you could just go into acting? Of course, Dempsey did show up later on as a vision to reunite with Meredith one more time.
William H. Macy – $350,000
Emmy Rossum wasn’t the only star bringing home the big bucks on the set of "Shameless." William H. Macy, who plays her alcoholic father Frank Gallagher, also made $350,000 per episode. Before starring in "Shameless," Macy established his undeniable talent with roles in "Magnolia," "Fargo," and "Air Force One."
He’s certainly a fan favorite in the entertainment world, but his role on "Shameless" took his talent to another level and transformed him into one of television’s most iconic characters. And in our books, Macy deserves every dime he gets, because he is simply a stellar performer in everything he's in.
Simon Cowell – $940,000
Simon Cowell is known in the entertainment world as the incredibly harsh judge of your favorite singing competitions. As a well-respected member of the music industry, Cowell’s opinion is taken seriously, even when it seems overly critical. While Cowell starred on many shows, he made the most money while working on "The X Factor."
For his spot as a judge, he earned $75 million for the entire season. With 80 episodes, Cowell was making just under a million dollars simply to tell people how bad they were. And he's not afraid to splash that cash he's earned over the years either. Just check out all of his homes and cars to prove it.
Steve Carrell – $1 Million
Steve Carrell first became a household name when he starred in the hit sitcom "The Office." While his career started in comedy, he later left the series to pursue a career as a movie actor. Over the years, he has given a variety of stunning performances which prove that he’s as talented an actor in drama as he is in comedy.
Recently, Carrell returned to TV in the Netflix comedy "Space Force." The series paid him $1 million per episode to play a general starting a new branch of the U.S. military. However, Carrell isn't reaping the rewards from that show anymore as it was canceled after two seasons.
Julia Roberts – $600,000
At one point, Julia Roberts was the highest-earning woman in show business. While she doesn’t work as often now, her notoriety alone demands a high salary. Recently, she departed from her normal career as a movie actress and starred in the Amazon thriller "Homecoming."
The show was about a treatment center for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and it earned Roberts $600,000 per episode. There is no denying though that Roberts has made an absolute killing over the years. With classic films such as "Pretty Woman," "Erin Brockovich" and "Notting Hill" under her belt, it is clear that Roberts is doing just fine financially.
Reese Witherspoon – $2 Million
Jennifer Aniston wasn’t the only actress making the big bucks on "The Morning Show." Her costar Reese Witherspoon also earned $2 million per episode. Witherspoon’s salary on "The Morning Show" was a big increase from the HBO drama "Big Little Lies," where she earned $1 million per episode.
Although both Witherspoon and Aniston were nominated for Golden Globes for their work on the series, neither snagged the award. And beyond this, we know that Witherspoon has made a decent living from her time in movies such as "Legally Blonde" and "Wild." Heck, she even worked with Aniston on "Friends" as well.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – $600,000
Seinfeld was named after Jerry Seinfeld, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is what made the show as successful as it was. Dreyfus played Elaine Benes, the female lead in the series. Like her other castmates, Dreyfus earned $600,000 per episode. After Seinfeld ended, Dreyfus’ acting chops kept her in the public eye.
She contributed heavily to Larry David’s show, and recently starred in the political comedy series "Veep." The show has already won numerous awards, yet another testament to Dreyfus’ incredible talent. So when you consider that Dreyfus has been a lead on not one, but two big shows, the paychecks have been coming quite consistently.
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen – $80,000
Although this salary doesn’t sound impressive compared to the large earnings on this list, it’s quite big when you consider that it was the Olsen twins’ first paycheck. Not only that, but they also earned this sum when they were just three years old!
Today, Mary-Kate and Ashley have a net worth of about $300 million. They have ventured out of the TV space and now focus most of their energy on fashion and other industries. One thing's for sure - we are convinced that the Olsens have been benefitting heavily from their time on "Full House" right up until the present day.
Kelly Clarkson – $461,000
Kelly Clarkson won "American Idol," but her career did not stop there - that's for sure. The win was just the tipping point in her climb to fame, which included a thriving music career. She also joined the cast of The Voice, but she was paid slightly less than her male costars.
Clarkson earned $12 million per season as a judge. That amounts to roughly $461,000 per episode, depending on the number of episodes. While she’s a perfect example of the gender pay gap, Clarkson is still making quite a lot of money for her work as a judge.
Norman Reedus – $550,000
While Andrew Lincoln was the highest earner on "The Walking Dead," Norman Reedus wasn’t far behind him. As Daryl Dixon, Reedus made $550,000 per episode. He quickly became one of the most beloved characters of the series. And with his nomadic, mysterious aura, it is not hard to see why fans loved him so much over the years.
"The Walking Dead" is easily Reedus’ biggest claim to fame. Beyond starring as Daryl, however, Reedus also had his own reality show, "Ride with Norman Reedus." And he is still benefitting from "The Walking Dead," appearing in some of the subsequent spinoffs.
Kim Kardashian – $1 million
"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" isn’t just a way for the family to stay in the spotlight. The show is actually very lucrative for everyone involved, especially as it continues to rise in popularity. While making every detail of her life public might be uncomfortable, the $1 million paycheck per episode likely dulls some of Kim Kardashian’s pain.
At one point, the star even earned a $5 million bonus after convincing her now ex-husband, Kanye West, to join in on the fun. It is safe to say that Kim and the rest of the Kardashians have so much money from that show that they really don't know what to do with it anymore.
The Cast of The Big Bang Theory – $900,000
"The Big Bang Theory" was another sitcom that only got more and more popular during its time on the air. The show was created by Chuck Lorre, the same mind behind Two and a Half Men. The series centers on a group of nerds dating and navigating life together.
Each of the five main characters of The Big Bang Theory—Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kunal Nayyar, Simon Helberg, and Kaley Cuoco—all earned $900,000 per episode. After twelve seasons, it’s safe to say that all these actors were pretty comfortable financially. Oh, what we would give for just one more season.
Ray Romano – $1.7 million
Ray Romano starred in the massively popular "Everybody Loves Raymond." During nine seasons, the show won 15 Primetime Emmy Awards. The finale alone premiered to an audience of 32.94 million viewers. Considering those large numbers, Romano’s salary also had to be hefty to mimic the success of the show.
He actually earned the place of the second-highest TV earner of all time, raking in $1.7 million per episode. His net worth now stands at $130 million, in large part a reflection of his massive earnings on the sitcom. Since then, Romano has starred in a few movies such as "The Big Sick" and "The Irishman."
Mindy Kaling – $140,000
After starring in multiple Judd Apatow movies that got her name out into the public, Mindy Kaling took her talent to the next level when she joined the cast of the classic sitcom "The Office." After starring in the hit show for many years, networks decided to give Kaling her own show.
On "The Mindy Project," Kaling brought home $140,000 per episode. The show was a success, but it ended in 2017 after six seasons. Of course, Kaling has been in and around some of the biggest comedy movies of all time. Do you remember when she played Paul Rudd's ex in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin?" No? Probably not the best example.
The Cast of Game Of Thrones – $2 million
"Game of Thrones" was a cultural phenomenon that ended in disaster. But even though the last season was a major disappointment for fans, the cast probably didn’t think so. Some of the most notable stars of the series, including Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady, and Kit Harington, earned $2 million per episode.
Honestly, the large paycheck was probably in part a congratulation for not dying during the show. In a series known for killing off characters at random, the fact that these stars survived until the end was a feat in itself. And they got paid richly for their survival.
Jason Momoa – $600,000
While the characters who made it all the way through "Game of Thrones" earned millions of dollars per episode, Jason Momoa wasn’t one of the lucky stars to escape death. When the series was still new, Momoa starred as Khal Drogo, a character that vaulted him to fame.
Unfortunately, Drogo died in the first season. Momoa didn’t stop, however, and now stars in a new Apple TV+ show called "See." For his work on this new series, Momoa made $600,000 per episode. It’s not $2 million, but it’s certainly something. And of course, Momoa did pretty well in the "Aquaman" film series.
Meryl Streep — $825,000
While TV actors used to be in an entirely different class than film actors, those lines are blurring. As streaming services become more popular, most are looking for big-name actors to draw an audience to their original content. Although it hasn’t been released yet, Meryl Streep is set to star in a new series called The Nix.
The show is based on a novel adapted for TV by J.J. Abrams. As one of the most well-respected actresses in the world, it comes as no surprise that Streep made $825,000 per episode for her work on the show.
Jerry Seinfeld – $1 million
Jerry Seinfeld was a big deal in comedy, in part due to the show named after him. "Seinfeld" was big while it was on the air, but it also ran dozens of successful re-runs that raked in the viewers, making it one of the most viewed TV shows of all time.
By the final season, it was estimated that one in ten Americans watched Seinfeld. To reflect that success, Jerry Seinfeld earned $1 million per episode. When the series finished, NBC was so desperate to keep Seinfeld on board that they offered him $5 million per episode, which he declined.
Ryan Seacrest – $652,000
While many celebrities will pursue multiple options on the small screen, Ryan Seacrest is pretty comfortable being just a host. He’s incredibly good at his job, which has made him a hot commodity in the TV space. From 2013-2016, Seacrest made $15 million per season hosting "American Idol."
In the 2014 season, there were 23 episodes of the musical competition show. That means Seacrest made $652,000 per episode. Why would he want to be anything but a host if he can make money like that? For someone on this list who wasn't even an actor, Seacrest has brought home the bacon over the years!
Patrick Stewart – $750,000
Patrick Stewart first entered the collective consciousness when he starred as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." After that role, he branched out into many illustrious characters, including Professor X in "X-Men."
Now, Stewart is reprising his role as Picard in the new 2020 series "Star Trek: Picard." Since it’s nearly impossible to imagine any other actor playing this role, Stewart makes $750,000 per episode. It pays to make yourself indispensable! Stewart also excited Marvel fans around the world when he reprised the role of Professor X in the film "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
Lauren Graham – $750,000
Alexis Bledel wasn’t the only star of "Gilmore Girls." While Bledel played the somewhat uptight Rory, Lauren Graham starred as the ultra-cool, coffee-obsessed Lorelai, Rory’s mom. For many viewers, it was exciting to see a single mother be so ambitious despite coming from a world of privilege. As the other main character of the series, Graham also made $750,000 per episode.
"Gilmore Girls" came to an end, but Graham wasn’t done with the small screen. After putting Lorelai behind her, Graham went on to star as Sarah Braverman on "Parenthood" for over 100 episodes. And we're sure she made a decent amount on that show too.
Jason Alexander – $600,000
Along with the rest of the "Seinfeld" cast, Jason Alexander made quite a bit of money while starring on the show. Alexander played George Constanza, the neurotic friend of Seinfeld. While Alexander hasn’t ever been able to replicate the fame he found on the show, the paycheck of $600,000 per episode he made while filming likely dulls some of the disappointment.
Alexander also hasn’t disappeared from the public eye. He continued to have a successful career after the series ended, though Constanza will always be his most memorable role. It's also believed that Alexander made a decent amount after starring in "Dunston Checks In." But that didn't do so well at the box office.
Michael Richards – $600,000
"Seinfeld" may have been named after Jerry Seinfeld, but Cosmo Kramer was one of the most beloved characters of the series. Known for his fuzzy hair, Kramer was Seinfeld’s neighbor through the many successful seasons of the show. Richards didn’t earn quite as much notoriety as Seinfeld himself or even Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but he did earn a large paycheck of $600,000 per episode.
After "Seinfeld" ended, Richards had his own show— "The Michael Richards Show." Unfortunately, the series was short-lived. Since then, Richards has pretty much kept himself out of the spotlight, after a pretty disastrous stand-up show a few years ago that we don't really want to get into right now.
Chris Evans – $750,000
Chris Evans’ first recognizable role was in Not Another Teen Movie. He has come a long way since then, now finding notoriety as Captain America in all the Marvel films. His climb to the top of show business is definitely reflected both in his increasingly popular roles and in his salary. He now plays the lead role of Andy Barber on Apple TV+’s Defending Jacob.
For his work on the miniseries, Evans makes $750,000 per episode. Evans wasn't at all concerned about the money when he recently hit the jackpot in the love department. He tied the knot with "Warrior Nun" star Alba Baptista.
Alexis Bledel – $750,000
"Gilmore Girls" was another TV success. Most young women could relate in some way to Rory Gilmore, the smart, ambitious daughter of free spirit Lorelai Gilmore. As the show became more and more successful, the actress behind Rory—Alexis Bledel—saw that success reflected in her paycheck.
Bledel earned $750,000 per episode while playing Rory. After the show was canceled, Bledel later reprised the beloved role in the Netflix special "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life." But that's not all. Bledel also a key role in the critically acclaimed series "The Handmaid's Tale." And we can only imagine that she will have many other exciting projects in the future.
Helen Hunt – $1 million
Mad About You was yet another popular sitcom in the 90s. While it doesn’t have the same reputation today as shows like Seinfeld or Friends, it was quite popular while it was on the air. The show had two leads, one of which was Jamie Buchman, played by Helen Hunt.
Jamie lived in New York City and worked in PR alongside her husband, played by Paul Reiser. For her work on the series, Hunt earned $1 million per episode. She also went on to star in many popular movies, including "Twister," "As Good As It Gets," and "Cast Away," to name a few.
Blake Shelton – $500,000
Blake Shelton also made quite a living for himself as a judge on "The Voice." In addition to the income from his music career, Shelton makes half a million dollars per episode, a salary on par with his fellow judge Adam Levine.
Out of 17 seasons of "The Voice," Shelton has won six. He judges and competes alongside his girlfriend Gwen Stefani, who also makes a killing on the series. It's kind of wild to think that Shelton was also married to Miranda Lambert at one point. This guy sure knows how to get into unexpected power couples. Let's just hope that this one with Gwen stands the test of time.
Drew Carey – $775,000
Today, most people recognize Drew Carey from his hosting gigs on "The Price Is Right" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Before he was the face of popular game shows, however, Carey had his own series—"The Drew Carey Show." Similar to "Seinfeld," "The Drew Carey Show" followed a fictional version of Carey through his life.
Simple as the concept was, the show ran for nine successful seasons. For Carey, the price of starring on that show was definitely right considering he made $775,000 per episode. With that iconic laugh of his, we're kind of surprised that the show didn't run for more seasons.
Jon Cryer – $620,000
Although Jon Cryer made much less than both Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher on "Two and a Half Men," he still managed to rake in a large paycheck of $620,000 per episode.
Cryer played the uptight brother to Sheen’s rebellious sibling. Although he’s most recognized from "Two and a Half Men," he originally made a name for himself when he starred in 80s classics, including "Pretty In Pink." So yeah, it's not as if Cryer just came out of nowhere and landed the role of a lifetime on "Two and a Half Men." This role had been a long time coming and the big bucks were well deserved, if we're going to be completely honest.
Nicole Kidman – $1 Million
The hit HBO series "Big Little Lies" follows five women involved in a murder investigation in Monterey, California. Based on a novel originally, the series was a massive success, earning a second season that added to the original story in the book.
As one of the main characters, Nicole Kidman earned $1 million per episode. She also earned critical acclaim for the show, as her performance was considered to be the most touching of all the women. With all of those Hollywood blockbusters under her belt, it is no surprise that Kidman is one of the highest-earning actresses of the last 50 years.
Ansel Elgort – $500,000
Ansel Elgort has pretty much stayed out of the entertainment space after starring in what felt like everything a few years ago. However, he is planning to make a return to our small screens with "Tokyo Vice," a TV show yet to be released. In the new series, Elgort plays a journalist uncovering corruption in Tokyo roughly 30 years ago.
Based on a true story, the memoir has been accused of stepping on people’s toes. Japan itself doesn’t want to publish the series. Despite the controversy, Elgort makes $500,000 per episode. On a side note, if you haven't seen it yet, make sure to check out Engort's epic movie "Baby Driver." It's so good.
Miley Cyrus – $550,000
While most of the women on "The Voice" were paid less than their male counterparts, producers knew they couldn’t get away with shorting Miley Cyrus. Although she started her career on Disney Channel as Hannah Montana, she later departed violently from the innocent image and started focusing on her vocal talent.
She joined the cast of "The Voice" and was paid $13 million for the 2016-2017 season. That ended up being about $550,000 per episode, a sum that accounted for her impressive musical talent. Outside of TV, Cyrus is also making an absolute killing with a plethora of hit singles and albums.
Michael C. Hall – $830,000
Michael C. Hall played the titular character in Dexter, a chilling drama about a forensic technician who is also a serial killer. The show was considered to be one of the most gripping series on TV. Hall was rewarded for his incredible performances with a hefty salary of $830,000.
Unfortunately, it was not enough for Hall. As the series continued, he engaged in a publicized salary dispute with the producers that nearly ended the show. They reached an agreement, but the final episode of the series left fans disappointed. It almost felt like that whole fight was not worth it.
Gwen Stefani – $425,000
While her husband Blake Shelton raked in half a million dollars for each episode of "The Voice," Gwen Stefani wasn’t quite as lucky. Much like the other female coaches, Stefani earned $12 million per season. However, her seasons had a few more episodes, making her pay roughly $425,000 per installment.
Still, Stefani came a long way from her place as the lead singer of No Doubt. Even though the role earned her fame and recognition, Stefani eventually branched out on her own, showing off her talented voice to the world. That's the thing - by the time she ended up a reality TV star, Stefani had already established herself as an out-and-out pop star.
Charlie Sheen – $1.8 million
Before he was fired, Charlie Sheen was in quite a sweet position on Two and a Half Men. He made history by signing a deal that earned him $1.8 million per episode for his role. At the time, he was officially the highest-paid actor in the world. Unfortunately, his public meltdown also had an effect on his job.
The producers felt it was necessary to part ways with him as he entered rehab, ending his massive paycheck for good. While he still has quite a bit of money to his name, Sheen’s reputation will likely never be the same.
Adam Levine – $500,000
There’s definitely money to be made in musical competition shows. While Adam Levine is best known as the lead singer of Maroon 5, he has expanded his career into various other avenues over the last decade. He 2012, he tried his hand at acting in "American Horror Story’s" second season.
After his acting debut, Levine decided to simply be himself. He joined "The Voice" as a coach, making $13 million per season. Although his team won the first season he participated in, Levine recently made his exit from the show. But when you're making that sweet Maroon 5 music, it doesn't really matter where you go - money's coming in.
The Cast Of Friends – $1 million
"Friends" was not only popular during its time on the air. Thanks to streaming services, it is now considered a classic TV show that continues to entertain the next generation, and the one after that. In fact, many people consider it to be the greatest TV show of all time.
By the final season, each of the six “friends”—Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe—earned $1 million per episode. While some of the friends, like Jennifer Aniston, went on to have impressive careers, others were happy to relax and enjoy the benefits of their large salaries after the show’s final episode.
Katy Perry – $1,389,000
Much like Adam Levine, Katy Perry also made the big bucks when she decided to be a judge on "American Idol." But while Adam Levine only made a measly half a million per episode, Katy Perry made nearly $1.4 million. Now that sounds unfair, if you ask us.
Per season, Pery makes $25 million. In comparison, Lionel Ritchie, a fellow judge, only makes $10 million. Perry certainly makes sense as a judge, but viewers have questioned if she’s really worth the ridiculously high salary. At the end of the day, if the studios are happy to meet her demands, then who's complaining? Go Katy, go!
Patricia Heaton – $250,000
The wickedly talented Patricia Heaton stars in "The Middle," a beloved sitcom about a middle-class family just trying to survive. The show ran for nine seasons, ending in 2018, and Heaton played the leading lady, Frankie Heck.
As the heart of the series, Heaton earned $250,000 per episode. Before starring in "The Middle," Heaton also earned awards and praise for her role as Debra Barone in "Everybody Loves Raymond." So it makes sense that she was able to command such a huge salary for "The Middle" as she had already become a proven sitcom star by then. Fair game, we say.
Mark Harmon – $525,000
Much like Mariska Hargitay, Mark Harmon enjoys playing the same character. Over the course of his career, he has landed multiple long-term roles on popular TV shows, creating a bit of job security for the talented actor. He starred in "St. Elsewhere" and "Chicago Hope," but he is best known for his role as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on "NCIS."
In this role, Harmon earns $525,000 per episode. While there were rumors for a long that his character would take a step back in the series, Harmon continued to rake in the cash up until 2021, when it seemed like Gibbs was sailing off into the sunset for good.
Shakira – $520,000
Shakira is just one in a long line of music legends who brought their talents to "The Voice." During her time as a judge, Shakira made $12 million for the entire season, which amounted to roughly $520,000 per episode. Shakira’s large paycheck on "The Voice" came after years and years of building her career as a pop superstar.
She is now one of the most respected female pop singers in the world, joining the ranks of other talented women like Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga. But despite all of the riches at her disposal, her divorce from Gerard Pique was certainly a tough pill to swallow.
Jennifer Aniston – $2 Million
After her time on Friends, Jennifer Aniston became a movie actress. She has had a thriving career and is now considered one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She is still acting today and recently decided to make her return to TV on the Apple TV+ series, "The Morning Show."
On The Morning Show, Aniston stars opposite Reese Witherspoon in a drama focused on the newsroom. For her work on the show, she made double her salary in the last season of "Friends." At $2 million per episode, Aniston may never want to return to the big screen. It seems like she'll never quit the TV game.
Paul Rudd – $450,000
Recently, Paul Rudd starred in a dark comedy released on Netflix called "Living With Yourself." In the series, Rudd plays a copywriter unhappy with his life who accidentally clones himself while trying to improve his mood.
For his work on the series, Rudd was paid $450,000 per episode. It’s a sensible paycheck, especially since Rudd was basically playing two characters. The series had 8 episodes, which means Rudd made $3.6 million dollars total for his work. And when you have already played a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and had your very own trilogy, we guess it's OK to ask for the big bucks when returning to TV.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – $650,000
Even though he started his career as one of the most famous wrestlers in WWE history, Johnson became a household name by showing off his impressive acting chops. In addition to his many movie roles, Johnson starred in the HBO show "Ballers." For his work on the series, Johnson makes $650,000 per episode.
In addition to his role in Ballers, Johnson has also made his way to the big screen in movies like "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," "Moana," and "The Fast & The Furious" franchise. Let's be real here, Dwayne Johnson is never going to do a project for free until the day he drops dead.
Will Smith – $50,000
Before he starred in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Will Smith made a name for himself in the entertainment world as a rapper. He was then cast as The Fresh Prince, where he made about $50,000 per episode after taxes. His real income was much higher since roughly 70% of his salary was taken by the IRS.
Will Smith may have given most of his money to the government, but there’s no need to worry about him. He went on to have a successful career in Hollywood and still commonly stars in today’s blockbuster hits. Despite his slap incident at the Oscars, it seems like Smith will continue to be a movie star.
Britney Spears – $536,000
Britney Spears has been hard at work since she was a teenager, but that didn’t stop her from joining the cast of X Factor as a judge. In 2012, Spears made $15 million for the entire season. That puts her at about $536,000 per episode. Even though Spears doesn’t need the money, she’s certainly happy to take it. She deserves it!
The star has created a successful career for herself and can now lean back and reap the benefits of her famous name. Despite all of the personal troubles she has gone through over the years, Britney is still beloved around the world by millions of fans.
Tea Leoni – $125,000
In the political drama "Madam Secretary," Tea Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord. Before she starred on television, however, she also made a name for herself by snagging roles in "Deep Impact" and "Jurassic Park III." Truth be told, Leoni was a well-established actress on the big screen before she even led her own TV show. So she was well within her rights to command a big paycheck when "Madam Secretary" came around.
While playing Elizabeth, Leoni makes $125,000 per episode. Her paycheck is significantly less than other female stars like Julie Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld, but it’s definitely nothing to scoff at.
Chance the Rapper – $500,000
There is no denying that Chance the Rapper is, first and foremost, a rapper, before he's a TV star. Formally named Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, he has found massive success in his career in recent years. He makes a killing performing and recording his music, and he even won a Grammy for his work. Recently, Chance also joined the cast of "Rhythm + Flow," a Netflix music competition program.
His fellow castmates, including T.I. and Cardi B, judge aspiring rappers and eventually choose a winner. For his work on the series as a judge, Chance has been paid $500,000 per episode.
Andrew Lincoln – $650,000
The zombie trend in entertainment isn’t over. "The Walking Dead" is perfect proof. This post-apocalyptic zombie show follows Rick Grimes, a former police officer who wakes up after an injury in a zombie-filled world. Grimes is played by Andrew Lincoln, who exited the show in 2018.
Before Lincoln left "The Walking Dead," he was the highest-paid actor on the set, making $650,000 per episode. His departure was in large part the result of a desire to spend more time with his children, who got much older during his eight years on set. Lincoln reprised his role as Grimes in the spinoff "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live."
David Hyde Pierce – $750,000
Kelsey Grammer earned a notable paycheck of $1.6 million while on "Frasier," but his co-stars were also paid pretty well. David Hyde Pierce played psychiatrist Niles Craine on the series, the younger brother of Frasier Crane. For that role, Pierce earned $750,000 per episode.
Although he didn’t earn as much as his onscreen brother, Pierce walked away with quite a bit of money in his pocket at the end of the series. He also won numerous awards for his performance, earning him increased notoriety as an actor. Pierce also had a noteworthy role in the cult classic comedy "Wet Hot American Summer."
Judith Sheindlin – ~$900,000
If you think you haven’t heard of Judith Sheindlin, think again. Sheindlin is the official name of the beloved Judge Judy. Judy makes a living by presiding over real-life court cases, where the audience is able to see her sharp wit at work while she makes her judgments.
While the producers didn’t originally think the show would be a success, they were wrong. Judy makes $47 million for all her many televised appearances, which averages out to about $900,000 per episode. Fun fact, did you know that Judge Judy showed up in a cameo on the Disney+ series "How I Met Your Father?" We're sure she got a nice paycheck for that as well.
Alan Alda – $235,000
Before there was Charlie Sheen, there was Alan Alda. Alda’s salary looks much lower compared to Mr. Sheen’s, but the star was working far before Sheen found success. From 1972-1983, Alda starred as Hawkeye Pierce on "M*A*S*H." He really made the role his own and it would end up being his biggest claim to fame.
In the early days of the show, Alda made just $10,000 per episode. As the show gained popularity, however, Alda’s paycheck was bumped up to $235,000 per episode. That is a huge increase! At the time, he was one of the highest-paid actors on TV.
Jennifer Lopez – $500,000
Before there was Katy Perry, there was Jennifer Lopez. In 2012, she agreed to be a judge on "American Idol" for $500,000 per episode. Lopez’s salary was nothing close to Perry’s despite the fact that Lopez has more experience in the industry and more talent in both acting and singing.
She was the perfect choice to judge up-and-coming singers, but she probably should have been paid more. JLo is another example of a pop star who had already made enough money to never have to work again. But she was more than happy to step onto our TV screens and warm our hearts.
Kerry Washington – $150,000
Kerry Washington became a household name while playing Olivia Pope on "Scandal." In the political thriller series, Pope is the head of a crisis management firm with intimate ties to the President of the United States. While playing Pope, Washington was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
Her talent was reflected not only in her nominations but also in her hefty paycheck of $150,000 per episode. Since the series ended, Washington has starred in "Django Unchained," "The Last King of Scotland," "Ray," and many other notable movies that continue to show off her talent. She really is a jack of all trades.
Emmy Rossum – $350,000
Emmy Rossum stars as Fiona Gallagher in the hit Showtime series "Shameless." The oldest in her family, Fiona takes on a mothering role for her siblings to keep them in line after the family is practically abandoned by their alcoholic father. For her supreme talent, Rossum earned $350,000 per episode.
Over the years, she was also given the opportunity to direct two episodes, expanding her skills in the entertainment world. She left the series after nine seasons, likely in search of bigger and better things. Her husband, Sam Esmail, is also a big hit on TV and beyond, having been the showrunner of the critically acclaimed series "Mr. Robot."
James Gandolfini – $1 million
James Gandolfini starred in "The Sopranos," an HBO drama focused on a New Jersey-based gangster family. The show quickly became a massive hit and is now considered to be one of the best TV shows ever made - right up there with the likes of "The Wire," "Game of Thrones," and others.
As Tony Soprano, Gandolfini definitely benefited from The Sopranos’ success. By the final episodes of the show, Gandolfini was raking in $1 million per episode. His pay bump was likely due to his award-winning performances that earned him three Emmys and a Golden Globe for his work on the show.
Cardi B – $500,000
There’s no pay gap here! After establishing herself as one of the most powerful forces in all of hip-hop, Cardi B joined Chance the Rapper as a judge on Netflix’s "Rhythm + Flow." Thankfully, she was paid just as much as her male counterpart at $500,000 per episode.
Interestingly enough, T.I.’s salary for his work on the series is unknown. Whether he made more or less, Cardi B’s talent and incredible rise to fame made her the perfect judge to bring aspiring rappers into the spotlight. We have faith that Cardi B will continue to stay relevant and do amazing things both in the TV realm and in the studio.
Elisabeth Moss – $1,000,000
Another TV show based on a novel, The Handmaid’s Tale captured the attention of audiences across the country when it premiered on Hulu. Elisabeth Moss played Offred, the protagonist of the dystopian series, and even won an Emmy for her work in 2017.
Most people credit Moss’ incredible talent for the success of the show, so it sounds like she’s worth her $1 million per episode paycheck. Producers likely knew she would deliver since she already had a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award under her belt for her work on Madmen and Top of the Lake.
Roseanne Barr – $500,000
Before she earned public scorn in 2017, Roseanne Barr was the star of a show that was also named after her. Not only that, but Barr was also an executive producer on the sitcom. During that time, she earned $500,000 per episode, contributing to her net worth of $80 million.
Roseanne was so popular in its heyday that Barr tried to put together a revival in 2017. Unfortunately, Barr’s personal life got in the way. She tweeted something offensive and tried to backpedal her words after receiving backlash, but the show was still canceled before its second season.
Kelsey Grammer – $1.6 million
Kelsey Grammer first made his mark on television when he played Dr. Frasier Crane in the sitcom "Cheers." His character was so beloved by the TV community that the producers decided to create a show entirely based around him. The spin-off was called Frasier, and it ran for a whopping 11 seasons.
Grammar made $1.6 million per episode while on Frasier. Today, he has a reported net worth of around $60 million, which probably could have been higher had he spent his money more shrewdly. Also, did you know that he is reprising his role as Frasier Crane in a revival series? Yes, that is happening. And yes, you should be excited!
Christina Aguilera – ~$530,000-$600,000
While Kelly Clarkson was paid less than her male peers on "The Voice," Christina Aguilera was actually paid more. Known for her powerful vocal talent, it was a no-brainer to bring her on as one of the series’ coaches. In 2013, Aguilera earned $17 million for the entire season of "The Voice."
However, producers later decided that they were paying her too much. After a few seasons, Aguilera’s pay was reduced by $5 million, bringing her more in line with the other female coaches. It feels like forever since Christina was singing hits such as "Beautiful" and "Genie in a Bottle."
Mariah Carey - $486,000
Mariah Carey is known for being a diva. In fact, she might be the most famous diva in the world. If you want Mariah Carey involved in your show, you should expect to pay quite a lot of money. When Carey agreed to be a judge for "American Idol," she was paid $18 million dollars for the whole season.
That amounted to roughly $486,000 per episode. It was still significantly less than Katy Pery’s salary, but it was a hefty paycheck nonetheless. Carey certainly has a healthy bank account - especially since she has been in and out of the world of pop for the last 30+ years.
Ashton Kutcher – $755,000
Charlie Sheen may have been fired from "Two and a Half Men," but the producers weren’t willing to call it quits on the series just because they lost one of their main stars. Sheen was replaced by Ashton Kutcher, who made a whopping $755,000 per episode.
Although Kutcher joined the series late, he still managed to make more than his co-star Jon Cryer, a member of the original cast. However, Kutcher did make less than Sheen, who reportedly raked in over a million dollars per episode for his work. Of course, Kutcher was already familiar with the TV world having been one of the leads on "That 70s Show."
Bryan Cranston – $700,000
Bryan Cranston has been a fixture in the entertainment world for quite a long time. In the 90s and 2000s, he starred in classics like "Seinfeld" and "Malcolm in the Middle." But his role in "Breaking Bad" really skyrocketed his popularity. Still, "Breaking Bad" wasn’t Cranston’s most notable role from a payment perspective.
He currently makes $700,000 per episode on the Showtime series "Your Honor." That’s more than he was paid while filming "Breaking Bad," though his ultra-successful role in the series probably contributed to his higher pay. Cranston also reprised the role of Walter White on "Better Call Saul."
Hugh Laurie – $700,000
This British actor has long had a career in entertainment. While Hugh Laurie’s breakout role was playing an assortment of characters in the classic comedy series, “Blackadder,” more recently Laurie is known for his main role in “House.” Laurie starred as Dr. Gregory House, a complex character who’s quick-witted but that’s not enough to save himself from putting his foot in it sometimes.
While his character was making all sorts of misguided approaches and errors, Laurie made no errors when he joined this series. Over time, the actor’s salary went from earning $300,000 per episode to $700,000 when the show reached its height of popularity. We’re pretty sure even Prince Regent (Laurie’s dim-witted character in “Blackadder: The Third) would figure out Laurie had stumbled on a goldmine.
Shailene Woodley – $500,000
Starring alongside A-listers like Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in HBO’s thriller “Big Little Lies,” Shailene Woodley proved herself a capable actress: capable of acting with the best. Before “Big Little Lies,” Woodley had put together an impressive resume with main roles in the “Divergent” series and “The Fault in Our Stars.”
It seems like acting was very much written in Woodley’s stars as her role in the “Big Little Lies” brought her a small fortune. In Season 1, Woodley reportedly earned $242,000 per episode. Thanks to the show’s massive popularity, in Season 2, Woodley’s salary had a massive raise, earning between $300,000 and $500,000 per episode. Interestingly, that was the amount Woodley earned for each “Divergent” film. Clearly, Woodley’s come a long way.
John Krasinski – $2 million
While most of us will forever associate John Krasinski with his delightful role as Jim Halpert in “The Office,” the actor has moved on – and moved on in a big way. Back in 2005, Krasinski earned $20,000 per “Office” episode. While that’s no small change, a decade later, Krasinski earned $2 million per episode in Amazon Prime’s, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”
That means after one season wrapped up, the actor took home an incredible $16 million. That is one way of beating rising costs. Since Krasinski’s “Office” days, Krasinski’s been plenty busy including starring in and directing “A Quiet Place” and “A Quiet Place Part 2.” One place that’s certainly not been quiet is Krasinski’s bank account with all the pings he’s been receiving.
Kevin Costner – $1.3 million
From 2022 to 2023, “Yellowstone” became the most-watched show on US TV. For the opening episode of Season 5, 12.1 million viewers tuned in. As the face of “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner is a key ingredient to the series’ immense popularity. Of course, Costner has been on the Hollywood circuit for decades – which means paying him to appear in five seasons and 47 episodes isn’t going to come cheap.
In Season 1, Costner made $500,000 per episode. When viewership of the series went through the roof, Costner renegotiated his salary, taking him up to $1.3 million per episode. If Costner filmed all 14 episodes of Season 5, that means he would earn a whopping $18.2 million. This proves that Costner isn’t only a phenomenal actor but also a hard-line negotiator.
Marg Helgenberger – $375,000
“CSI” proved to be the goldmine Marg Helgenberger needed. Helgenberger may have many acting credentials to her name like starring in “Species” films and “Erin Brockovich,” but “CSI” is still her most notable work. And the actress has made quite a tidy sum with the crime series. Helgenberger became one of the highest-paid “CSI” actors. Only her “CSI: Miami,” David Caruso, co-star gave her a run for her money.
Caruso literally gave Helgenberger a run for her money as the two ended up being paid $375,000 per episode. What is mind-blowing is that Helgenberger starred in 15 seasons, each with 20 episodes. Each season brought the actress $7.8 million and in total Helgenberger earned about $117 million. No wonder Helgenberger’s happy to reprise her role as Catherine Willows.
Alexandra Breckinridge – $336,000
Few of us were expecting the romantic drama to sweep us off our feet, but “Virgin River” had plenty of appeal. In fact, the series had so much appeal that a reported 2.64 billion viewers had viewed at least one of its 47 episodes. One of the central ingredients to the series’ success was Alexander Breckinridge, who portrayed the character Mel Monroe.
Breckinridge brought Monroe’s heartbreak to the screen and drew viewers in. Of course, as the main star of the show, Breckinridge earned $336,000 per episode. In fact, Breckinridge made her female fans proud as she out-earned even her male co-star, Martin Henderson, who had had a solid career on screen.
Anthony Starr – $400,000
With huge productions like “The Rings of Power” and “The Boys,” it's quite obvious that Amazon has plenty of money to throw around. Amazon set aside a budget of a staggering $11 million for each episode of the alternative superhero showstopper. Of course, not all the money was used to film incredible scenes and action sequences, but the actors who brought these rather strange superheroes to the screen made quite the killing.
Antony Starr, who stars as Homelander, earned an estimated $400,000 per episode. Now we know why Amazon needed a budget of $11 million to film each episode. If one cast member is eating into about 3% of the budget – well, you’re gonna need a bigger budget. Clearly, with “The Boys,” stardom had come for Starr.
Chris Pratt – $1.4 million
If it’s an Amazon production, then you know a lot of money is probably going to be involved. One of Prime’s latest creative ventures is the thriller series “The Terminal List.” There’s one thing that doesn’t seem to have a terminal – and that’s Amazon’s budget. One of the main stars of “The Terminal List” is Chris Pratt.
The American actor has quite an established acting career, so Pratt wouldn’t exactly come cheap. For his role as James Reece, Amazon paid Pratt a jaw-dropping $1.4 million per episode. While Pratt might have reached incredible fame starring in “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” with “The Terminal List,” we’re pretty sure the actor is sitting in the lap of luxury.
Sarah Jessica Parker – $3.2 million
One of Hollywood’s wealthiest A-listers who’s quite under the radar when it comes to her riches is Sarah Jessica Parker. The fact that she’s known by her famous initials SJP demonstrates this leading lady is in a league of her own. Back in the day, SJP made the wise decision to become a producer of “Sex and the City,” which meant big bucks for the actress in Season 4.
Her earnings per episode became $3.2 million. Naturally, that didn’t sit too well with her co-stars. They weren’t producers so they weren’t bringing home the same kind of money. When SJP reprised her role for the once-off reboot “And Just Like That,” the actress earned $1 million per episode.
Henry Cavill – $1 million
In Season 1 of “The Witcher,” Henry Cavill starred as the fantasy series’ protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. Cavill earned $400,000 per episode. When the actor returned for the second season, he negotiated his salary to $1 million per episode, meaning he took home $8 million after 8 episodes. It’s completely understandable that Cavill negotiated a raise.
The show became incredibly popular, and viewers became fanatical about Geralt of Rivia. Of course, it was Cavill who brought the fantasy character to life and without him, Cavill knew “The Witcher” would have a serious hole. In fact, Cavill had so much weight in “The Witcher” that he could have asked for golden burgers for lunch every day and still got away with it.
Viola Davis – $600,000
One actress who’s steadily been making a name for herself in Hollywood is the extremely talented Viola Davis. While Davis has an acting resume spanning several decades, the actress’s more recent roles in “The Help” and “Fences” have cemented her as one of Hollywood’s finest. However, Davis’ acting is not simply limited to the big screen.
In 2022, Davis joined the cast of “The First Lady” portraying former first lady, Michelle Obama. Of course, Davis was going to get plenty of attention for her role as the former first lady, but that’s not all Davis got. The actress was also paid a remarkable $600,000 per episode. When it comes to Davis, she’s worth every penny – and we’re talking about a lot of pennies.
Kate Winslet – $600,000
Even some of the biggest A-listers have realized that there are plenty of big bucks to be made on streaming platforms. In 2021, Kate Winslet hopped onto the streaming platform bandwagon when she starred as the lead character, Mare Sheehan, in HBO’s investigative series “Mare of Easttown.”
While Winslet delivers a daring performance as a police investigator whose life’s unraveling as she tries to solve a murder in her small town, HBO coughed up $600,000 per episode for the leading lady’s performance. Fortunately for HBO, “Mare of Easttown” was a limited series – meaning no more murders were turning up and HBO no longer had to tighten their purse strings. One person who was definitely living it up after the seven episodes was Winslet.
Jeff Bridges – $1 million
Who said an older dog can’t learn new tricks? Well, you can teach this “Old Man” some new tricks. Even though Jeff Bridges has been a Hollywood staple for an incredible eight decades, the actor’s recently turned to streaming platforms. Starring as the protagonist in “The Old Man” shows that in his 70s, Bridges is ready to learn all the new tricks, including being part of FX’s latest creative endeavor.
However, Bridges came at quite a cost. In 2021, Bridges earned an incredible $1 million per episode for his role in the espionage drama. We can safely say there’s one person right now who’s not stressing about having enough money for his retirement. However, judging by the quality that Bridges continues to produce, retirement may not be on the cards.
Pedro Pascal – $600,000
HBO struck gold in 2023 with “The Last of Us.” For its final episode, 8.2 million viewers tuned in eagerly awaiting the fate of the two main characters. Since its pilot episode, the number of viewers just went up and up, reaching an increase of 74%. That’s the sign of a hit right there.
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were cast in the two main roles, and we can say their acting was part of the series’ magic. For Pascal’s role as Joel, the actor banked $600,000 per episode. Naturally, with the success of the post-apocalyptic drama, HBO probably considers forking out so much money for Pascal as a great investment.
Angela Bassett – $450,000
Though this actress has had a long and stellar career in acting, in recent years, things have only gotten better for Angela Bassett. Thanks to the actress’s roles in the “Black Panther” films, Bassett continues to land role after role. Yet, this actress doesn’t only dazzle in movies, but in series too.
After being a hit in the “American Horror Story” franchise, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuk invited Bassett to join the drama “9-1-1” about the professionals who respond to 911 calls. As the protagonist, Bassett earned $450,000 per episode. Bassett has starred in all 97 episodes meaning the actress has banked a lot of bucks. Yet, we’re guessing the actress has banked even more as she also was an executive producer of “9-1-1.”
Dame Helen Mirren – $1 million
For roughly six decades, this British actress has been in showbiz. And almost every decade Dame Helen Mirren has blessed theater and movie productions with dazzling performances. Little wonder the actress was honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award for her contributions to arts and film.
Though Mirren is traditionally a theater and movie actress, in 2022, she joined the cast of the “Yellowstone” spin-off, “1923.” Mirren was cast as the matriarch, Cara Dutton. “Yellowstone” was an immensely popular show so its spin-off was likely to be just as successful. Mirren was paid a whopping $1 million per episode. The spin-off had eight episodes in total, meaning Mirren walked away with $8 million.
Steve Martin – $600,000
This actor’s long made himself known as a funny guy in Hollywood. Steve Martin can even bring comedy to a series about solving murders. But that’s the point. “Only Murders in the Building” is a “whodunnit” series that perfectly balances comedy with intrigue – and murder, of course. Martin is no stranger to comedy and the American comedian lights up the entire set with his goofs, quirks, and comments.
Naturally, the American comedian was handsomely rewarded for his efforts, earning $600,000 per episode. Martin is looking at starring in a total of 30 episodes of the Hulu production, meaning quite a decent amount for the actor. And who’s to say there won’t be a Season 4 or even a Season 5?
Kristin Davis – $1 million
She’s one of the four that made “Sex and the City” possible. And though we said our goodbyes to these ladies in 2004, saying goodbye is proving almost impossible. The actresses reprised their roles for the feature film, then the second feature film, and once again, they came together – at least, three of them did – for a one-season reboot. Clearly, saying goodbye has been tough for “SatC” fans.
But actress Kristin Davis who played Charlotte York probably wasn’t complaining all that much. For the series reboot, the actress earned a whopping $1 million per episode. Fortunately, for the producers, it was a once-off thing. Let’s just hope fans can finally say goodbye or else Davis will continue to earn a staggering sum.
Robert Downey Jr. – $2 million
This actor has gone from being down and out and totally broke to one of the biggest actors on the planet. Robert Downey Jr. simply has gone from strength to strength. When it seemed like he couldn’t get any bigger than his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Downey Jr. starred in Christopher Nolan’s historical/science epic “Oppenheimer.” Yet Downey Jr. is showing no signs of slowing down.
Though Downey Jr. principally takes on movie roles, he has joined the cast of HBO’s mini-series “The Sympathizer.” However, when Downey Jr. does take on series roles, it costs an arm and leg. In fact, Downey Jr. negotiated for $2 million per episode. Considering that there are seven episodes in total, that means a tidy $14 million in Downey Jr.'s account.
Alec Baldwin – $575,000
While Peacock is not one of the major streaming platforms, it’s backed by mass media conglomerate, NBC Universal. That means it has plenty of money to play with. One man who knows this well is legendary actor, Alec Baldwin. “The Departed” actor has a resume decorated with roles from several decades, meaning that a production starring Baldwin might just break the bank.
In 2021, Baldwin joined the cast of Peacock’s thriller “Dr. Death.” And though Baldwin was not the protagonist, he still earned $575,000 per episode. Peacock may have had to cough up $575,000 eight times, but, thankfully, the series was limited to one season – meaning Peacock’s bank could take a break. Baldwin’s own bank account is much fuller since his time on “Dr. Death.”
Brian Cox – $400,000-$500,000
This Scottish actor astoundingly has more than 200 acting credentials under his belt. And that’s just counting Brian Cox’s roles in movies and series – not his theater productions. With such an extensive background in acting, Cox has done everything: historical epics, narrations, crime series, and stage productions. It’s not surprising that Cox’s tried his hand – or rather, his acting range – on a streaming platform production.
In 2018, Cox joined the cast of HBO’s family dramedy “Succession.” What’s almost as impressive as Cox’s acting background was the amount he earned per episode. For his role as Logan Roy, Cox earned $400,000 to $500,000. For Season 3 alone – with its nine episodes – Cox brought home close to $5 million.
Jude Law – $450,000
If you’re a big HBO fan, you’d probably know or have watched the streaming platform’s thriller, “The Third Day.” Though it only had a short run-time, some individuals made a ton of money off of it. While “The Third Day” isn’t what you’d call a prime-time series, English actor Jude Law, wouldn’t have noticed. He still pocketed mega bucks.
The streaming platform paid Law $450,000 per episode. The series only ran for six episodes and seemingly concluded with its Season 1 finale, “Last Day – The Dark.” That said, Law earned himself a total of $2.7 million for starring in the production. Of course, this is Jude Law, we’re speaking about – who year after year manages to star in several productions.
Harrison Ford – $1 million
This actor has certainly not made a habit of starring in TV series. If anyone thinks of a straight-up movie actor, Harrison Ford would come to mind. Ford is a devoted movie actor. Yet now and then his acting credentials are sparsely decorated with appearances in series. With the rise of powerhouse streaming platforms that are churning out huge profits, even Ford has felt compelled to join the cast of these series.
Ford joined the cast of the comedy-drama “Shrinking” (2023), and before that the cast of the “Yellowstone” spin-off, “1923” (2022). HBO paid Ford $1 million per episode. Perhaps, that was all the convincing this actor needed to add a few more TV series roles to his resume. After eight episodes, Ford was $8 million richer.
Tom Selleck – $500,000
Here’s for a blast from the past. “Magnum P.I.” was before most of our time but it was an immensely popular TV series. In fact, it was such a hit that Tom Selleck, who starred as the titular investigator, Magnum, made a killing off the action series. In 1985, at the height of the show’s success, Selleck reportedly earned $500,000 per episode.
The incredulous part is this was back in 1985. If adjusted for inflation, Selleck’s earnings work out to roughly $1.2 million per episode today. Selleck’s time in “Magnum P.I.” certainly was the actor’s heyday, but in 2010, he returned to star in “Blue Bloods” and earned $200,000 per episode. It doesn’t compare to his time at “Magnum P.I.” but the actor was still making a boatload.
Claire Danes – $450,000
From a young age, this actress’s career in showbiz took off. One of Claire Danes’ main claims to fame came when she was 15 years old in the hit teen series, “My So-called Life.” After Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet” and the crime drama “Brokedown Palace,” things slowed down a bit for the actress. However, the actress made a big comeback in 2011.
Danes starred as the main character, Carrie Mathison, in the spy thriller “Homeland.” The series proved to be pretty popular and Danes profited quite a bit from this. In 2014, Danes earned $250,000 per episode, but, by 2017, the actress was due for a big raise. By 2017, the actress was earning $450,000 per episode. Just one season of 12 episodes meant Danes earned $5.5 million.
The Cast of “The Simpsons” – $400,000
Most of us would feel our childhoods were missing something if it weren’t for the classic family comedy, “The Simpsons.” Even though it’s animated, the characters were so relatable that the Simpson family seemed like an average family. We’d have to give credit to the cast who brought them to life: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardly Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer.
Of course, the show’s producers knew these voice actors were their bread and butter, so they paid them generously. How generously? Castellaneta, Cartwright, Kavner, Smith, Azaria, and Shearer earned $400,000 per episode. That doesn’t even begin to explain how much money these voice actors were making. In total, they worked five hours a week, meaning that each actor earned $80,000 an hour.
Zoe Kravitz – $428,000
One of the stars making up the bright cast of “Big Little Lies” was the rising actress, Zoe Kravitz. While Kravitz’s career was just starting to take off, her earnings from the hit series were undeniable proof that her career had taken off. Initially, in Season 1 of “Big Little Lies,” Kravitz earned $54,000 per episode. The season concluded after seven episodes and the young actress made an overall $380,000.
Yet, things took quite the turn in Season 2. The immense popularity meant that Kravitz was due a raise. For one episode in the second season, Kravitz earned $428,000. That means Kravitz earned more filming one episode in Season 2 than she did filming the entire first season. All in all, the actress raked in $3 million for Season 2.
Martin Short – $600,000
There was no one better to star alongside funnyman Steve Martin and former Disney star Selena Gomez in the comedic whodunnit “Only Murders in the Building.” Short has for a long time contributed to comedy with roles in “Father of the Bride” and “Three Amigos.” Based on his film background, it’s pretty clear that he and Steve Martin are great pals.
And the comedic pals made a comeback with the Hulu production “Only Murders in the Building.” Like his co-star and comedic pal, Short made $600,000 per episode. What’s more, is that Short was one of the show’s executive producers so currently we know of one actor who’s not short of spending money.
Michelle Pfeiffer – $600,000
There’s a lot of money to be paid on streaming platforms. And even seasoned actresses like Michelle Pfeiffer – who’ve had plenty of success in showbiz – know where the big bucks are at. The answer is – streaming platforms. For Pfeiffer the streaming platform in question was Showtime. What’s interesting is that Pfeiffer rarely had roles in TV series.
But in 2022 she sealed the deal with Showtime and starred in the drama, “The First Lady.” Pfeiffer was both a ‘first’ lady onscreen and behind the scenes as the actress earned a head-turning $600,000 per episode. Though Pfeiffer has tended to stay away from series and TV, we’re guessing something about $600,000 per episode changed her mind.
Cynthia Nixon – $1 million
As one of the four friends who made up the inner circle of “Sex and the City,” Cynthia Nixon brought one of TV’s quirkiest characters to life, Miranda Hobbes. Even though Miranda wasn’t the most endearing of the sassy four, her type-A personality who wanted to find love and be a successful professional resonated with many.
As “SatC” was such a hit, when Nixon was invited to reprise her role as Miranda in the spin-off, “And Just Like That…,” she earned $1 million per episode. Of course, this wasn’t the only money Nixon made from her portrayal of Miranda as she also earned pretty pennies for both feature films. We’re pretty sure Nixon was happy to make one last comeback before finally saying goodbye to Miranda for good.