October 18th, 2010
Playing Steve McGarrett on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” Alex O’Loughlin makes $100,000 per episode, compared to $80,000 for Scott Caan as Danny “Danno” Williams, according to TV Guide.
That's a lot of 000000s. Then again, "Five-0" is this fall's No. 1 show, and as McGarrett, O'Loughlin is in the driver's seat, even if Danno's emerged as the series' fave — despite the lack of parity on the show —with his banter and bickering with McG.
Still, the "Five-0" pair pale in comparison the top dog — or doc — who leads the drama payroll:
Hugh Laurie of Fox’s
“House” draws more than $400,000 weekly, followed by $395,000 for NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” one-two punch, Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay.
These salaries may surprise or stun, depending on how plugged in you are to a particular series or actor.
How’s this, then, for a shockeroo: Charlie Sheen is the top-earning comedy series star; he draws $1.25 million per episode on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” with co-star Jon Cryer pulling $550,000. Four of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” stars — Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria Parker — each earn $400,000 per episode.
On talk TV (syndication and late night), no one beats Oprah Winfrey; her annual salary is $315 million. Judge Judy at $45 million tops late-nighters David Letterman ($28 million), Jay Leno ($25 million), Conan O’Brien ($10 million), Jimmy Kimmel ($6 million), with daytimer Ellen DeGeneres earning $8 million annually.
TV news anchors draw huge purses, too: Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” earns $16 million a year, Katie Couric of CBS $15 million, Brian Williams of NBC $12.5 million, Diane Sawyer of ABC $12 million, Meredith Vieira of “Today” $11 million, Bill O’Reilly of Fox $10 million.
Ryan Seacrest is out of the ballpark with a $15 million annual paycheck for hosting Fox's "American Ido.
While some of these salaries may seem excessive, consider the millions that jocks earn — football, basketball, baseball, golf — often with endorsement deals beyond their playing contracts.
The point is, you are worth what you’re paid, as long as ratings or rankings remain high.