Highest Paid TV Stars; Jon Stewart Earns More Than Jay Leno And David Letterman

Gregory Wakeman - Author
By

Aug. 20 2013, Updated 6:24 p.m. ET

Jon Stewart is the highest paid entertainer in late night, after it was revealed that he earns between $25-30 million a year hosting The Daily Show.

TV Guide’s annual survey was released on Tuesday, and it showed that Stewart’s sum eclipsed both Jay Leno and David Letterman, who are his late night rivals that work for NBC and CBS respectively.

63-year-old, Leno, makes around $20 million a year, whilst 66-year-old Letterman also earns around that sum too. Leno took a pay cut from NBC last year, which saw his salary reduced by around $10 million.

Stewart managed to eclipse both Leno and Stewart because The Daily Show has a higher rating in the 18-49 demographic than his rivals.

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The TV Guide’s survey also revealed that Ashton Kutcher is still the highest paid actor in television. Kutcher earns $750,000 per episode for Two and A Half Men, and he was followed by Mark Harmon, who is paid $525,000 for every edition of NCIS, while Homeland’s Claire Danes and Michael Weatherly of NCIS both came in third place, and are paid $250,000 per episode.

This is expected to change next year, as Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Kaley Cuoco, each of whom stars in The Big Bang Theory, are expected to ask for deals of around $1 million per episode as their contracts are set to expire after the next season.

However, despite the success of Kutcher and Stewart, they both still trail Judy Sheindlin, who earned $47 million in the daytime/syndication category because of her work on Judge Judy. This made Judy the top earner in any genre of television.

Sheindlin earned $37 million more than her nearest rival, Katie Couric, who came finished in second place, with the paltry sum of $10 million for Katie.

In the news category, Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show was the top earner, making between $22-25 million, with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC coming in second with $7 million.

[Image via Jaguar PS/Shutterstock]

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