The verdict is in: Judge Judy is TV's highest-paid star

Aug 9th, 2012
The verdict is in: Judge Judy is TV's highest-paid star
Aug 9th, 2012

Looks like Judge Judy Sheindlin's no-nonsense approach to the law has paid off big time.

A recent survey conducted by TV Guide has revealed that the popular television judge earns an annual pay of US$45 million for her syndicated court show, making her TV’s biggest on-camera earner.

While Simon Cowell (of X Factor fame) rakes in an estimated annual income of US$90 million, the majority comes from production and show ownership.

Reality TV personalities are earning in the big bucks, but their scripted small-screen counterparts aren't faring as well.

The highest-paid actor in a scripted drama, Mark Harmon of NCIS, made a (comparatively) paltry US$11 million for the year, US$500,000 per episode.

Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay came in second with US$385,000 an episode, narrowly out-earning Grey's Anatomy's Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, who each earn US$350,000 per ep.

Comedy actors fare a little better. Two and a Half Men's Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer lead the pack, raking in US$700,000 and US$600,000 an episode respectively.

A distant second is 30 Rock's Tina Fey, who earns US$350,000 an episode.

The biggest surprise? Glee's Lea Michele only makes US$75,000 an episode.

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