Highest-Paid TV Casts of All Time, by the Numbers

Big Bang Theory stars are bringing home the bacon

By Francesca Bacardi, Alessandra Mortellaro Mar 23, 2017 4:56 PMTags

The cast of Friends blew everyone away when they got together to negotiate $1 million payouts per episode. Not only did they manage to reach an astronomical number, they also did it together, considering they started the first season by making $20,000 each. Talk about teamwork.

It was a feat for TV actors for sure, but nearly 13 years later, The Big Bang Theory cast has picked up where Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joe and Monica left off. The three main stars of the CBS sitcom, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, started season one earning $60,000 per episode. As the TV seasons went by, the cast earned more and more, and fast-forward to season eight and the trio got together to negotiate a Friends-sized salary: $1 million per episode.

That got us thinking about other TV stars who really brought home the bacon in their shows heyday, and you might be surprised by the ranking, which is in order from least expensive actor to most expensive:

TV's Most Shocking Exits: Stars Who Left Hit Shows

10. Ashton Kutcher: After Charlie Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men, Kutcher took over and received $755,000 per episode. He appeared as Walden Schmidt in 84 episodes.

9. Michael C. Hall: The Dexter star earned $830,000 per episode for his role as a serial killer hunting the bad.

8. Galecki, Cuoco and Parsons: They've hit a high at $1 million per episode. They've also banded together to help co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik reach close to a $500,000 salary per episode for their 48-episode deal over the next two seasons.

Mark Davis/Getty Images

7. Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow: They received a 5,000 percent raise from the start of the series to the final season when they each took home $1 million per episode.

6. Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt: These two actors earned $1 million per episode for Mad About You.

5. Jerry Seinfeld: The Seinfeld star reportedly turned down a $5 million per episode payday to continue the series after he wanted to end it. But he didn't miss out on much, because he still took home $1 million per episode.


4. Tim Allen: Starring as a modern day Mr. Fix It, Allen earned about $1.25 million per episode for Home Improvement.

3. Kelsey Grammer: Everyone's favorite TV psychiatrist earned $1.6 million per episode of Frasier.

2. Ray Romano: The comedian-turned-actor's sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond paid him $1.8 million per episode.

1. Charlie Sheen: The Two and a Half Men alum was the highest paid actor in television during his reign. He earned $1.8 million per episode in the show's final season and then took home $2 million per episode of Anger Management after it passed its 100th episode.