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Here’s a List of the Highest-Paid Actors on Television Right Now

Proof that the small screen is highly lucrative.
All of the Highest-Paid Actors on TV Right Now

Mariska Hargitay might be on one of the longest running crime dramas ever, but her salary ain’t nothing compared to the cast of the CBS comedy, “The Big Bang Theory.”

You might have heard that “TBBT” leads Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco lobbied for—and received—a pretty hefty raise back in 2014. Parson, Galecki and Cuoco continue to earn a staggering $1 million per episode, making the trio the highest-paid actors on television right now, according to extensive research done by Variety.

Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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In comparison, Hargitay—who has starred on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” for a whopping 17 seasons— currently only brings home $450,000 per episode. Her salary is certainly nothing to laugh at, but considering the raging popularity of her show and the fact that it has been on the air for nearly two decades, the $550,000 per episode deficit between her wage and that of “The Big Bang Theory” cast is a bit of a slap in the face.

But, according to Variety‘s figures, the real TV salary winners are reality stars and talk show hosts. For instance, Miley Cyrus and Adam Levine are pulling down an estimated $15 million a year for “The Voice”—and they don’t even have to learn any lines.

The biggest shocker from Variety‘s numbers? Now that she’s in syndication, Judy Sheindlin is bringing in a cool $47 million a year for “Judge Judy.”

MORE: The Best TV Shows of 2017: Your Definitive Guide to Every Must-See Series

Below, check out a few stats from Variety‘s salary roundup, and read an in-depth report here.

Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory”

Salary: $1 million each per episode plus profit participation

Alexis Bledel, “Gilmore Girls”

Salary: $750,000 per episode

Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls”

Salary: $750,000 per episode

Mark Harmon, “NCIS”

Salary: $525,000 per episode plus profit participation

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards

Salary: $500,000 per episode (includes producer fee)

Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”

Salary: $450,000 per episode

Ellen Pompeo, “Grey’s Anatomy”

Salary: $400,000 per episode

Michael Weatherly, “Bull”

Salary: $300,000 per episode

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Salary: $250,000 per episode

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Salary: $250,000 per episode

Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”

Salary: $175,000 per episode

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland

Salary: $150,000 per episode

Mindy Kaling, “The Mindy Project”

Salary: $140,000 per episode (includes producer fee)

Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”

Salary: $130,000 per episode

Originally published August 2014. Updated March 2017.

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