Ashton Kutcher still the highest paid actor on US television

Ashton Kutcher (left) and his ‘Two and a Half Men’ co-star Jon Cryer earn more per episode than any other actors on American TV. — AFP file pic
Ashton Kutcher (left) and his ‘Two and a Half Men’ co-star Jon Cryer earn more per episode than any other actors on American TV. — AFP file pic

LOS ANGELES, Aug 22 — “Two and a Half Men” star Ashton Kutcher is holding on to his title as America’s best paid TV actor, raking in US$750,000 (RM2.5 million) per episode, according to the latest rankings from TV Guide.

For the second consecutive year, Kutcher is ahead of his co-star, Jon Cryer, who earns US$650,000 per episode of the long-running sitcom. Mark Harmon, the lead actor in “NCIS”, US television’s most watched show, remains in third place with US$525,000 per episode.

The first woman in the ranking, Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order SVU”, brings in US$400,000 per episode. She is followed by a string of stars tied at US$350,000 per episode: Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johny Galecki  of “The Big Bang Theory”, Simon Baker of “The Mentalist” and Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh of “Grey’s Anatomy”.

The highest-paid actor on cable TV, Michael C. Hall, brings home US$300,000 per episode, the same remuneration that Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner and Yeardley Smith receive for voicing Homer, Marge and Lisa in “The Simpsons”.

“Mad Men” star Jon Hamm earns US$275,000 per episode, placing his salary on par with that of Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood”. The stars of “Bones”, David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, as well as Michael Weatherly from “NCIS”, are close behind with US$250,000.

The lower end of the ranking reveals that Tim Allen (“Last Man Standing”) and Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) earn more per episode than Bryan Cranston receives for his award-winning performance on “Breaking Bad”. The actor takes in US$225,000 per episode, compared with US$235,000 for the two others. The cast members of “How I Met Your Mother” bring in a pay cheque on par with Cranston’s.

TV Guide also reveals that Laurence Fishburne earns US$175,000 per episode in the new series “Hannibal”, while Robin Williams is taking in US$165,000 per episode for “The Crazy Ones”, the new sitcom coming to CBS this fall.

Perhaps the most unexpected change in TV Guide’s ranking comes from the late-night category, where Jon Stewart is reported to earn more per year than the longtime leaders of the category, Jay Leno and David Letterman. The comedian reportedly earns US$25-30 million per year for hosting “The Daily Show”, while Leno and Letterman have both seen a drop in annual income in recent years, bringing their salary down to US$20 million per year. — AFP/Relaxnews