A new list is out from Forbes magazine of television’s highest-paid actors, and at the top of the list is a man who stepped in to bring stability to a hit show after a turbulent period: Ashton Kutcher, who became the star of CBS’s "Two and a Half Men" following former star Charlie Sheen’s high-profile meltdown in 2011.
Kutcher reportedly made $24 million between June 2012 and June 2013 to top the list. "During the first week of the new television season, 11.6 million people tuned in to watch ‘Two and a Half Men’ on CBS," Forbes reports. "Those numbers are way down from the show’s peak of 28 million viewers when star Ashton Kutcher stepped in for the ousted Charlie Sheen. It’s also fewer people than watched the new ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and almost 10 million fewer than watched ‘NCIS,’ according to Horizon Media.
"But it’s still solid ratings for a show that is already in syndication (which is where the real money is made). Producer Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. TV likely have no regrets about hiring Kutcher to replace Sheen."
Kutcher’s fortunes have been less spectacular on the big screen, however. "This summer Kutcher starred as Steve Jobs in a biopic about the Apple founder’s life. The film may have generated plenty of buzz but that didn’t translate to success at the box office. ‘Jobs’ earned only $16 million," Forbes reports. "Kutcher can absorb the blow. He’ll earn even more as his episodes of ‘Two and a Half Men’ go into syndication, and there’s no reason for CBS to cancel the cash cow anytime soon."
The show’s other stars also made the list: Jon Cryer comes in second with $21 million and Angus Jones places seventh with $11 million.
"However, this is likely to be Jones’ last year on our list," Forbes notes. "The 19-year-old is no longer a regular on the show after a video went viral of Jones calling the show filth and telling people to stop watching. He was recently replaced by Amber Tamblyn, who plays Charlie Sheen’s character’s long-lost daughter. He’ll still earn from the show’s lucrative syndication, though."
Ray Romano comes in third on the list with $16 million. Mark Harmon and Neil Patrick Harris round out the top five, tying with $15 million apiece.
The rest of the top 10: Patrick Dempsey, $13 million; Tim Allen, $11 million; Angus T. Jones, $11 million; Michael C. Hall, $10 million; Charlie Sheen, $10 million.