Here are the biggest salaries of TV’s top stars

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HBO

How much is Hollywood shelling out for its top TV talent?

In this age of wall-to-wall TV programming, stars have become essential in bringing sizable audiences to shows.

Variety talked to actors, executives, agents, managers, attorneys, and others who are in the know about how much TV stars are making these days and found that the gap between the salaries of main stars and supporting ones has become larger.

Star salaries can range from $1 million an episode for the main players of CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” to as small as $20,000 per episode for the actors who play the Lyon kids on Fox’s “Empire.”

Here’s a look at the biggest salaries across comedy, drama, and reality/news/talk series*:

*Salaries are per episode, unless otherwise indicated. Some salaries may include producing fees and profit participation.


$1,000,000 — Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

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CBS

$1,000,000 — Kaley Cuoco, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

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Sonja Flemming/CBS

$1,000,000 — Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

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Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

$750,000 — Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix)

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Netflix; YouTube

$750,000 — Alexis Bledel, “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix)

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Getty Images

$525,000 — Mark Harmon, “NCIS” (CBS)

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“NCIS” star Mark Harmon.
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Cliff Lipson/CBS

$500,000 — Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

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Netflix

$500,000 — Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

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HBO

$500,000 — Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

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HBO/screen grab

$500,000 — Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

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Jon Snow in HBO’s “Game Of Thrones” adaptation.
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HBO.

$500,000 — Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

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HBO

$500,000 — Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

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Macall B. Polay/HBO

$450,000 — Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)

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Showtime

$450,000 — Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order” (NBC)

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Michael Parmelee/NBC

$400,000 — Ellen Pompeo, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

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Ellen Pompeo was only shot from the chest up while she was pregnant during filming for “Grey’s Anatomy.”
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ABC

$400,000 – Dwayne Johnson, “Ballers” (HBO)

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HBO

$350,000 — Drew Barrymore, “Santa Clarita Diet” (Netflix)

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David Buchan/Getty Images

$350,000 – Emma Stone, “Maniac” (Netflix)

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Getty Images

$350,000 — Jonah Hill, “Maniac” (Netflix)

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Michael Buckner / Getty Images

$350,000 — Joel Kinnaman, “Altered Carbon” (Netflix)

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Getty Images

$350,000 — Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)


$350,000 — Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

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Getty Images

Reality/News/Talk (yearly salary)

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Jemal Countess/ Getty Images

$47 million – Judy Sheindlin, “Judge Judy” (Syndicated)

$22-25 million – Matt Lauer, “Today” (NBC)

$20 million – Ellen DeGeneres, “Ellen” (Syndicated)

$16-20 million – Kelly Ripa, “Live With Kelly” (Syndicated)

$13-15 million – Miley Cyrus, “The Voice” (NBC)

$13-15 million – Adam Levine, “The Voice” (NBC)

$13-15 million – Jimmy Fallon, “The Tonight Show” (NBC)

$13-15 million – Jimmy Kimmel, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)

$12 million – Conan O’Brien, “Conan” (TBS)

$12 million – Robin Roberts, “Good Morning America” (ABC)

See the full list of star salaries at Variety.