Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Greg Gayne/CBS

Charlie Sheen earns the salary of more than a dozen men, let alone two and a half.

The sitcom star is the top-earning comedic actor on television right now, with a per-episode payday of $825,000, according to a list of the highest salaries in prime-time compiled by TV Guide.

Joining him in the upper echelons of compensation are CSI's William Petersen, who will be walking away from a $600,000-per-ep salary when he leaves the show in the coming season, and Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay, who may or may not keep copies of her $400,000 checks next to her Emmy.

Also quenching America's thirst for crime-solving, Kyra Sedgwick's $275,000-per-ep salary makes her the highest-paid actress in a cable drama.

But if you're wondering where all the real money goes, read on.


  • Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is, of course, the biggest moneymaker in TV land, raking in $385 million a year from her various multimedia ventures.
  • Family Guy and American Dad visionary Seth MacFarlane's new $100 million, five-year deal with Fox makes him the highest-paid writer-producer out there creating for the small screen.
  • Simon Cowell earns $50 million a season to tell people just how untalented they are on American Idol.
  • CBS knows how to open the purse strings for bottom-feeders: David Letterman makes $32 million a year as host of The Late Show, while Katie Couric is getting $15 million for fronting the CBS Evening News. Meanwhile, ABC's Nightline has started to top Letterman in the ratings, and Couric is still anchoring a third-place newscast.
  • The cast of The Simpsons is well cared for: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith each earn $400,000 per episode. And we're OK with that.

The full list of prime-time's biggest earners can be found in the Aug. 11 issue of TV Guide.

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