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Robert De Niro, The Rock and 'The Big Bang Theory' cast among best paid TV stars

The main actors in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ remain the best paid in US television. ― AFP pic
The main actors in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ remain the best paid in US television. ― AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, Aug 24 ― Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg et Kunal Nayyar, who star in The Big Bang Theory, remain the best paid actors on American television, with US$900,000 (RM3.85 million) per episode, reports Variety.

This week Forbes reported on the best paid movie actors and actresses. Now the spotlight has been turned on television actors' incomes. Not surprisingly, the cast of the most watched series in the United States remains the best paid in the industry for the third year in a row. The main actors in the sitcom are still well ahead of the competition, even after a pay cut in March 2017 — they were previously earning a million dollars per episode — which they accepted so that their colleagues Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could have their salaries raised.

Now another familiar name has joined this annual ranking: Robert De Niro. The Hollywood star is being paid US$775,000 per episode for his role in a series that has yet to be shown or even given a title, currently being prepared by David O. Russell for Amazon. That's considerably more than the US$650,000 earned by Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) for the HBO comedy Ballers, or the US$525,000  paid to Mark Harmon for his part in NCIS.

An array of talent on US$500,000

Half a million dollars per episode is the current rate paid to the cast of the phenomenally successful Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey. It is also the sum earned by Kevin Spacey for an hour of House of Cards on Netflix, and by the actors of Modern Family (Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara), and by rising stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch in The Big Bang Theory.

Hot on their heels, Claire Danes and Ellen Pompeo pocketed US$450,000 dollars for their respective roles in Homeland and Grey's Anatomy.

US$250,000 to bring back ‘Will & Grace’

To return to their roles in Will & Grace, which airs on NBC this fall, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally will be paid a quarter of a million dollars per episode. ABC has agreed to hand over a similar sum to Roseanne Barr and John Goodman who are to be reunited in new episodes of Roseanne. Finally, this is also the amount paid to Kerry Washington for her series Scandal, which will embark on its seventh season this October.

At the bottom of the rankings, the cast of This Is Us (Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown) earned a mere US$85,000 dollars per episode. Their colleagues Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz were even worse off with less than half of that amount. No doubt a few zeros will soon be added to these figures in view of the phenomenal success of the series. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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