TV's highest paid stars: By the numbers

Ashton Kutcher will receive $700,000 per episode on Two and a Half Men. Meanwhile, Glee's beloved belter, Lea Michele, pockets just $40,000 an episode

Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen in CBS' "Two and a Half Men" but will be earning $500,000 less than the hard-partying star.
(Image credit: Edward Le Poulin/Corbis)

With the fall TV season approaching, some Americans may be wondering what Ashton Kutcher will pocket for yucking it up in place of Charlie Sheen on CBS' Two and a Half Men. What will Lea Michele earn for strenuously belting her heart out on Glee? Here's a sampling of TV's star salaries:


Typical salary per episode for lead actors on a new prime-time network series, according to Stephen Battaglio and Michael Schneider at TV Guide. (Most network series have 22-26 episodes per season.)

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$1.2 million

Salary per episode that Charlie Sheen took home in his final season of Two and a Half Men


Salary per episode that Ashton Kutcher will receive for replacing Sheen on Two and a Half Men


Salary per episode of Kutcher's less famous Two and a Half Men co-star, Jon Cryer


Salary per episode Tim Allen and Kiefer Sutherland will each receive for returning to TV this season for the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing and the Fox drama Touch, respectively

$1.25 million

Salary per episode Tim Allen received on Home Improvement during its final season


Salary per episode that Kiefer Sutherland received for the Fox drama 24 in 2009


Christina Aguilera's salary per episode to judge The Voice, according to Brian Moylan at Gawker


Salary per episode of Aguilera's Voice co-judges Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, and Blake Shelton

$15 million

Katie Couric's annual salary before she left CBS Evening News. Her replacement, Scott Pelley, "started at under a third" of that figure.

$17 million

Matt Lauer's annual salary for hosting the Today show. That's $4 million more than Brian Williams, $5 million more than Diane Sawyer, $6 million more than Anderson Cooper, and $7 million more than Bill O'Reilly.


Ted Danson's per-episode salary for CSI, on which he'll replace Laurence Fishburne this year. Fishburne took home $350,000 per episode.


Salary per episode earned by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco, says James Hibberd at The Hollywood Reporter. Their show was TV's most-watched comedy last season.

$1 million

Salary per episode earned by each of the Friends stars at the height of their show's popularity


Tina Fey's per-episode salary for 30 Rock


Lea Michele's per-episode salary on Glee, which typically attracted twice as many viewers as 30 Rock last season


Per-episode salary of each overly-tanned Jersey Shore cast member

Sources: Access Hollywood, Entertainment Weekly (2), Gawker, Hollywood Reporter, Richest, NY Times, Screen Rant, TV Guide (2)

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