10 highest-paid TV actors of all time

James Morgan

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Have you ever wondered how much your favourite TV stars earn for doing their day job? Of course you have, you nosy bunch – and it's slightly more than the rest of us get for doing ours.

But who tops the pile as the highest-paid TV actor of all time, and where do the others rank?

We've done some digging, sifting through various reports and graphs, to bring you the top ten biggest earners and lord, they've really done very well for themselves. We've even adjusted for inflation, so it's a level playing field.

Like we said, these are all reported figures, so there's probably a little bit of give and take here and there, but what we do know is that this lot are one very flush bunch.


Jerry Seinfeld

Fee per episode: $2,364,862

We can't really imagine what payday must feel like when you're Jerry Seinfeld. The NBC show of the same name saw the stand-up comedian earn a whopping fee for each episode.

And his co-stars were earning $600,000, according to Variety – not bad, not bad.

But it could have been so much more. Seinfeld was offered over $100 million – $5 million per episode – to produce one more season of the show after it ended in 1998, but he turned it down because he wanted to enjoy life away from the cameras – a decision which he told the New York Times that he didn't regret: "It was the perfect moment [to walk away], and the proof that it was the right moment is the number of questions you're still asking me about it.

"The most important word in art is "proportion". How much? How long is this joke going to be? How many words? How many minutes?

"And getting that right is what makes it art or what makes it mediocre."


Tim Allen

Fee per episode: $2,550,859

Being the star of the show is always going to pay handsomely, but Colorado-born comic Tim Allen took it to another level during his time on ABC sitcom Home Improvement.

The actor took home over $2 million per episode, according to The Richest, making him number four on our list.

Allen has been starring in Last Man Standing since 2011 as Mike Baxter, a senior employee of a sporting goods store, and is apparently earning $235,000 per episode.

It's not quite as good as his Home Improvement paycheque, but we certainly wouldn't say no.


Charlie Sheen

Fee per episode: $2,706,087

Yeah. Sorry.

The 53-year-old hasn't been without his problems, but that didn't stop the former Two and a Half Men star from raking in more than $2 million per episode on the hit CBS comedy, according to Vulture.

Warner Bros Television terminated Sheen's contract after "careful consideration" back in 2011, despite the fact that it was supposed to run until the end of the 2012 TV season.

It probably had something to do with the fact that Sheen complained he was being paid too little. He also regularly took to social media to highlight the many disagreements he had with the show's producers.

It was never going to end well.


Ray Romano

Fee per episode: $3,034,316

It's a widely held belief that Marie Barone (Doris Roberts) is the best thing about Everybody Loves Raymond by a country mile, but it was the show's eponymous character, Ray, who was rolling in the big bucks.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Romano signed a deal back in 2003 that secured the actor a serious upgrade on the $800,000 he was already receiving.

Who knew Ray was such a master negotiator?


Kelsey Grammer

Fee per episode: $3,099,171.62

During his time as Seattle psychologist Frasier Crane, the 63-year-old was the highest-paid man on TV. And remains so, with hindsight.

Variety reported that NBC had agreed to pay the actor more than $3m per episode for the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Some might argue that such sums are far too extravagant, but the cast won an impressive 37 Emmys, which was a scripted series record at the time, as well as bagging the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series five years on the trot.

Value for money, we'd argue.

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