Charlie Sheen Highest-Paid Actor; Oprah Made $315M Last Year

By Michael Preston
|  Thursday, Aug 12, 2010  |  Updated 1:32 PM EDT
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Bad publicity isn't hurting the bottom line of Charlie Sheen, who tops TV Guide's list of highest paid actors.

Despite being sentenced to 30 days in jail for assaulting his wife last Christmas, Sheen rakes in $1.25 million an episode for his role on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," reports the New York Daily News.

Sheen is the top earner among actors on TV Guide's list, but he's far from being the highest-paid screen personality. That distinction goes to Oprah Winfrey, who makes $315 million a year.

On the late night circuit, Dave Letterman is king, pulling in $28 million a year. He's followed by "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, who collects $25 million. Conan O'Brien is set to earn $10 million for his new program on TBS.

When it comes to reality shows, the host with the most in the bank is Ryan Seacrest, who takes in $15 million a year. He's followed by Joe McHale of "The Soup," who gets by on $2 million. Everyone's favorite pint-sized, perennially-tanned cutup, Snooki of MTV's "Jersey Shore," makes $30,000 an episode.

Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" leads drama actors, netting $400,000 per show.

According to TV Guide, a typical scripted drama delivers 22 episodes over a 36 week period. Shows are paying their actors less because of sagging ad revenues and rising DVR usage cuts into the profits of airing repeat episodes.

Nobody tops NBC's Matt Lauer in the news game, as he pulls in over $16 million a year. But Katie Couric of CBS comes close, at $15 million.
 

Selected Reading: TV Guide, New York Daily News

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