Who Is the Highest-Paid Late-Night Star? There’s a New King on the Block — Here Are the Top Earners in Other Dayparts, Too

Aug 20, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The highest-paid host in late-night television is a name that has surpassed perennial leaders Jay Leno and David Letterman, reports TVGuide.com.

The top-paid name in late-night is "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who is now earning between $25 million and $30 million a year, the story reports. That puts him ahead of Leno, who took a pay cut last year and now earns about $20 million annually. Letterman is also said to earn about $20 million per year, as the license fee paid to Worldwide Pants, his production company, has recently been reduced.

The shift is the biggest in TV Guide’s survey, the story notes.

"Stewart’s ratings have made him worthy of his status as highest-paid late-night host," the story says. "His show is regularly the top-rated late-night program among viewers aged 18 to 49, the demographic advertisers covet the most, and is especially strong in the younger half of that age group."

As for prime-time TV, Ashton Kutcher has held onto his spot as the top-paid actor, earning a reported $750,000 per episode on CBS’s "Two and a Half Men." On the drama side, Mark Harmon of "NCIS" is the top earner, at $525,000 per episode, along with a slice of the show’s profits.

Across all genres, the highest-earning performer on TV is Judy Sheindlin, also known as Judge Judy. The star earns $47 million per year for her syndicated show "Judge Judy." Simon Cowell, meanwhile, is the top-earning TV mogul, with earnings of about $95 million from his ownership of "The X Factor" franchise, the story reports.

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