With the hype Ashton Kutcher has generated for CBS’ Two and a Half Men it shouldn’t surprise many people to discover that he is now the highest paid TV actor on the planet.
On average TV actors are paid a decent salary, starting at $125,000 per episode for prime-time shows on network television while cable networks are pushing that number up to $150,000 in various cases at the moment.
Even better is the cost networks will pay for hit show makers, for example Tim Allen and Kiefer Sutherland are both set to receive $225,000 per episode for their new soon to be released shows, while Ted Danson is earning $225,000 per episode on CSI, down from the $350,000 per episode Laurence Fishburne commanded. Throw in at least 22 episodes per season on average and the money for many actors is better than doing one or two movies per year.
Ashton Kutcher however is in a league of his own, while he won’t be taking home the same $1.2 million per episode earned by Charlie Sheen for his work on Two and a Half Men, he’ll still be pulling in an impressive $700,000 per episode, making far more “top series” money than some TV veterans who worked for years to establish their shows.
While Ashton Kutcher is currently the highest paid TV star, his salary could soon be rivaled by Keith Olbermann who will earn $10 million per year at budding network Current TV. While Olbermann won’t earn more from his salary than Kutcher, he’s being given an equity stake in the network which could be worth hundreds of millions should the network reach the top echelon of cable network providers.