Charlie Sheen was the king of the TV paycheck when he was the MAN on ‘Two and a Half Men’ – but we all know what happened to good time Charlie… . Now Ashton Kutcher is getting a cool $700,000 per episode as Charlie’s replacement -which is great but is still less than 60% of the $1.2 million per episode they had to pay Charlie.
Since HBO singlehandedly put TV back on the map with ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Sex In The City,’ it has become increasingly respectable for top actors to work on the boob tube. Of course has given networks and studios more leverage in negotiating salaries as the A-list talent pool willing to work on TV expands.
Standard salaries for lead actors on prime-time network series is $125,000 per episode with cable networks going as high as $150,000.
Tim Allen and Kiefer Sutherland get $225,000 an episode because they are established stars.
Laurence Fishburne got $350,000 per episode on law and order which was a lot richer than Ted Danson’s $225,000.
They say that Piers Morgan makes less than 33% of what Larry King got but of course that is still many millions of dollars.
Anderson Cooper has Time Warner forking over $11 million with a new talk show and a new deal at CNN.
All of these salaries are dwarfed by Simon Cowell’s $50,000,000 when he was on ‘American Idol,’ but of course there is always Oprah who is estimated to have made over $385,000,000 per year.