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Simon Cowell, Ashton Kutcher Named Two Of TV's Highest Paid Actors

Posted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:20 PM PDT


We haven't even seen a single episode of Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men yet, but that hasn't stopped the funnyman from scoring a spot as one of the most highly sought after small screen actors already.

TV Guide Magazine just announced its list of the highest paid stars on TV, and Ashton tops the list along with House's Hugh Laurie. Both earn $700,000, scoring the highest spots in the comedy and drama categories, respectively.

Ashton's paycheck sounds huge, but it's actually a big save for CBS - Charlie Sheen earned $1.2 million per episode on Two and a Half Men.

In the reality TV realm, it's no surprise that American Idol alum Simon Cowell is No. 1 - he will earn $75 million per season on the The X Factor. Other judges make bank as well, but not quite like Simon. Christina Aguilera earns $225,000 per episode as a coach on The Voice. That's quite a paycheck, seeing as the other coaches - Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green - only make $75,000 per episode.

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi takes home a huge slice of the reality TV pie too, earning $100,000 per episode on Jersey Shore.

Late night talk show hosts aren't doing too shabby either. David Letterman scores $28 million per year, Jay Leno rakes in $25 million and Conan O'Brien earns $10 million.

Looks like TV really does pay the bills!

Other big earners in the cover story include Law & Order:SVU's Mariska Hargitay at $350,000 per episode and Gossip Girl's Blake Lively at $60,000 per episode. Talk show hosts Live with Regis and Kelly's Kelly Ripa and CNN's Anderson Cooper earn $20 million and $11 million per year, respectively.

One of the biggest surprises, though, was that Regis Philbin chose to leave his post alongside Ripa rather than seeing his $15 million paycheck take a hit.

And much like Two and a Half Men, some shows are saving cash while still having big names join the cast. Ted Danson will earn a cool $225,000 per episode on CSI, but that's still $125,000 less than Laurence Fishburne earned for his work on the same show.



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