African Americans on TV Guide’s "TV’s Highest Paid Stars 2014" List. You Might Be Surprised
Photo Credit: S & A

African Americans on TV Guide’s "TV’s Highest Paid Stars 2014" List. You Might Be Surprised


Every year, TV Guide publishes a “Who Makes What” issue, in which they list salaries of television stars, whether by year or by episode. In a recent TV Guide report (August 25-31, 2014), the salaries of some of TV’s biggest — oldest, and newest — stars were revealed. I always like to see how much the black folk are making, in comparison to their white counterparts.

In past years, TV Guide has stated that the approximate numbers came from conversations with agents, network executives and studio honchos. You’d be surprised how much, or how little, some of these stars make. 

It must also be noted that some of these stars have been on their respective shows for years, and or have been in the business for years, and thus command a greater salary. For instance, years ago, all of the adult stars of "Modern Family" made the same salary, but Ed O’Neill made more, because he has been in the business for a long time.

Case in point, from this new list, Shemar Moore, as a Co-Star, makes $175,000 an episode on "Criminal Minds," more than Kerry Washington as the star of her own showm "Scandalm" at $150,000 an episode. "Criminal Minds" is going into its tenth season, while "Scandal" is only going into its fourth.

Below, I have listed the African American actors (IN CAPITALS) on the lists, and also, as a barometer, I list the top money earners, as well as their nearest peers. The people with “**” include a producer fee. 

Below are is the list broken down into categories.

DRAMA (per episode)

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards $500,000**

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU $400,000

Jensen Ackles, Supernatural $175,000

SHEMAR MOORE, Criminal Minds $175,000

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones $150,000

Katherine Heigl, State of Affairs $150,000**

HALLE BERRY, Extant $100,000

JESSE L. MARTIN, Flash $100,000

Johnny Lee Miller, Elementary $100,000

JADA PINKETT SMITH, Gotham $100,000

OCTAVIA SPENCER, Red Band Society $75,000

CCH POUNDER, NCIS: New Orleans $50,000

(*Note: Halle Berry is listed as a Co-Executive Producer on Extant, but TV Guide didn’t make the distinction)

COMEDY (per episode)

Ashton Kutcher, Two and a Half Men $750,000

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men $650,000

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation $250,000**

Sophia Vergara, Modern Family $190,000

DON CHEADLE, House of Lies $150,000

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VEEP $150,000

ANTHONY ANDERSON, Black-ish $100,000

ANDRE BRAUGHER, Brooklyn Nine-Nine $100,000

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory $75,000

TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, Black-ish $50,000

Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black $30,000

(*Note: Don Cheadle is listed as an Executive Producer on House of Lies and Anthony Anderson is listed as an Executive Producer on Black-ish, but TV Guide didn’t make the distinctions)


Jennifer Lopez, American Idol $17.5 million (per season)

Ryan Seacrest, American Idol $15 million (per season)

Howard Stern, America’s Got Talent $15 Million (per season)

NENE LEAKES, The Real Housewives of Atlanta $1 million (per season)

MIMI FAUST, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta $20,000 (per episode)

Nicole Richie, Candidly Nicole $20,000 (per episode)

DAYTIME/SYNDICATION (per year) (* includes profit participation)

Judy Sheindlin, Judge Judy $47 million

Ellen DeGeneres, The Ellen DeGeneres Show $16-20 million*

Kelly Ripa, Live! With Kelly and Michael $14-20 million*

Vanna White, Wheel of Fortune $8 million

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, The View $5 million

Rosie O’Donnell, The View $5 million

(*Note: MICHAEL STRAHAN is listed as a “Double Dipper” for Live! With Kelly and Michael $6 million (per year) and Fox Sports $6 million (per year). There is no mention of his salary from Good Morning America.)


There are NO African Americans listed individually under “Late Night” assuming because The Arsenio Hall Show has been cancelled. They DO list SNL starting salary

David Letterman, The Late Show $20 million

SNL player starting salary $4,500 (per episode)

We can assume that new cast mate SASHEER ZAMATA makes around that, but longer cast members JAY PHAROAH and KEENAN THOMPSON make more, but what I hear SNL is notorious for its low salaries.

NEWS (per year)

Matt Lauer, Today $22-25 million

Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor $18 million

ROBIN ROBERTS, Good Morning America $6 million

Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News $13 million

Natalie Morales, Today $2.5 million

BYRON PITTS, ABC News $1.2 million

Bill Weir, CNN $750,000

You can read a previous post I compiled, African Americans on TV Guide’s TV’s Highest Paid Stars (2012) here and you talk media with me anytime on Twitter @NotherBrother

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