It is baffling to us how much money TV sitcom stars can actually make from one episode. While some A-list stars have garnered their wealth from appearing on the big screen, these rich celebrities are doing just great on the small screen. The people on this list are raking in the cash – to the tune of $250,000 per episode.
20. Claire Danes – Homeland ($250,000 per episode)
Claire Danes stars as Carrie Mathison on the show and it has been running since 2011. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Claire since her days as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet,” but apparently she is killing it on the Showtime network.
19. Jon Hamm – Mad Men ($275,000 per episode)
Jon Hamm was bringing in some serious dough to play the 1950s advertising executive Don Draper on the hit AMC show. As the show ended, Jon was already a household name and an award winner. Not too shabby for a Madison Avenue gentleman of a different era…
18. Michael C. Hall – Dexter ($300,000 per episode)
Michael C. Hall first came into view as David Fisher on the hit show “Six Feet Under.” Since, he took on the role as blood spatter guru and serial killer in the show “Dexter.” The show’s writing took a dive – and with it, the ratings. Still, he made a lot of money off of killing people as the show progressed.
17. Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh – Grey’s Anatomy ($350,000 per episode)
Patrick, Ellen and Sandra all made up the core element on Grey’s Anatomy and raked in a cool $350,000 per episode as a result. If the network can afford to shell out that kind of dough on three actors, then you know they’re making a killing getting women sucked in!
16. William Petersen – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ($500,000 per episode)
William Petersen is getting paid the big bucks to portray Dr. Gilbert Grissom on CSI. He left the show in 2013 and with him, a huge bank account. He made a ton of money, but never won an Emmy for his performance on the show.
15. Mariska Hargitay – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ($500,000 per episode)
Mariska Hargitay investigates sex crimes on Law & Order: SVU as the cunning Olivia Benson. In her last movie role, she starred as herself in “The Love Guru,” which was Mike Meyers’ worst movie in the history of movies. At least she has all that TV show money and her good looks to fall back on.
14. Tina Fey – 30 Rock ($500,000 per episode)
Tina Fey has gotten very rich from 30 Rock, but it’s because she also directed, wrote and produced many of the show’s episodes. She starred as Liz Lemon, a producer on a show who was seeking a love connection in New York. It was funny and garnered her a lot of success.
13. Mark Harmon – NCIS ($525,000 per episode)
Mark Harmon starred as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS and was formerly a football player at UCLA. He doesn’t look his age (63), but he made a nice bundle of cash on the show that catapulted him to superstardom.
12. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander & Michael Richards – Seinfeld ($600,000 per episode)
These three people became super rich and famous in this hilarious “show about nothing.” Seinfeld is known for being the most iconic comedy show in the history of television. These three raked in the cash and are beloved by many for their roles as Elaine, George and Kramer.
11. Jon Cryer – Two And A Half Men ($620,000 per episode)
Jon Cryer became a household name in the eighties in brat pack movies, but he accumulated mass quantities of cash as Alan Harper in the TV show Two And A Half Men. He starred as a chiropractor who mooched off his brother Charlie and then friend Walden Schmidt.
10. Drew Carey – The Drew Carey Show ($750,000 per episode)
Drew Carey starred as a fictionalized TV version of himself on The Drew Carey Show which took place in Cleveland, Ohio. The show lasted from 1995 to 2004 and was considered a huge success.
9. Ashton Kutcher – Two And A Half Men ($750,000 per episode)
When Charlie Harper died on Two And A Half Men, Alan Harper needed someone new to mooch off of. So, the show added the billionaire character of Walden Schmidt, played by Ashton Kutcher. The role ended up padding Ashton’s bank account to the tune of being a billionaire several times over (not that he needed the money).
8. Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt – Mad About You ($1 million per episode)
If you watched any television in the nineties, then you’ve had to have seen Mad About You. We can’t give you any memorable quotes from the show, but we know that it was fun to watch.
7. Jerry Seinfeld – Seinfeld ($1 million per episode)
As the star of the show named after him, Jerry Seinfeld reached the point where he was earning one million per episode. He is considered one of the richest actors in the world and his descendants will probably not have to work a day in their lives.
6. Cast of Friends ($1 million per episode)
Friends was an unstoppable force of nature for many years and those who starred on it have earned a ton of money as a result. The show’s series finale raked in 52 million viewers and is still the saddest episode ever. Jennifer Aniston’s haircut inspired the “Rachel” while the others are beloved internationally.
5. Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons & Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory ($1 million per episode)
Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki are all bringing in epic amounts of money for starring in The Big Bang Theory. For that kind of cash, it might as well be called The Big Bank Theory. Rajesh and Howard could only dream of making that kind of money – it’s really astronomical!
4. Tim Allen – Home Improvement ($1.25 million per episode)
Home Improvement aired in a lot of people’s homes in the nineties and netted Tim Allen a hefty chunk of change as a result. It was the top show on TV for quite some time and it spawned the career of Jonathan Taylor Thomas – who hasn’t really done much since.
3. Kelsey Grammer – Frasier ($1.6 million per episode)
Kelsey Grammer took the role of Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers, but was catapulted to new heights when Frasier got his own show and became a huge hit. The show ran for eleven seasons and was smart comedy for the intellectually inclinded.
2. Ray Romano – Everybody Loves Raymond ($1.7 million per episode)
Everybody Loves Raymond lasted for nine years and aired just enough episodes to go into syndication. Now, you can watch the hilarity all over again in reruns while Ray Romano continues to cash those checks.
1. Charlie Sheen – Two And A Half Men ($1.8 million per episode)
Charlie Sheen starred on Two And A Half Men as jingle writer and ladies’ man Charlie Harper. He made so much money that it was just insane, but ruined it all with his temper and mouth. He ended up in a public beef with the show’s creator Chuck Lorre and called him out. After he got fired, he was replaced by Ashton Kutcher.
Who throws away that kind of money? Charlie Sheen, that’s who. He’s not “winning” anymore, though because of his recent HIV diagnosis.