The role of a television host isn’t necessarily as easy as it seems. Not only do you have to have been born with the kind of voice and charisma that keeps people tuning in, but you have to keep up that same energy every episode.
That’s just part of the reason why the hosts of your favorite TV shows get paid so well. If you want a bona fide star on your program, it’s not going to come cheap!
The following 20 TV show hosts, however, get paid better than anyone currently on the air. From late night to news, you won’t believe their salaries!
1. Mike Myers: The former Saturday Night Live star and funnyman, perhaps still best known for his roles in Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, makes $3 million per year hosting The Gong Show for ABC.
2. Jamie Foxx: Beat Shazam on Fox might bring in around $3 million per year for Foxx (the host), but he’s also a multi-talented, Academy Award-winning actor whose role as Ray Charles is a classic. Not a bad resume, huh?
3. Alec Baldwin: Hosting Match Game for ABC earns its host $3 million per year, but the star of such films as The Hunt for Red October and shows like 30 Rock has also stayed busy portraying Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
4. Ryan Seacrest: The American Idol host will receive $12 million per year for hosting that show when it returns on ABC. That doesn’t even include his earnings for other ventures, such as co-hosting Live with Kelly and Ryan. (Keep scrolling to see what he earns for that!)
5. Conan O’Brien: Conan on TBS earns its host $12 million per year. Not too shabby for a man who came up through the ranks of comedy stardom with writing stints on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons early in his career.
6. David Letterman: The former Late Show host’s upcoming interview show on Netflix doesn’t even have a proper title as of the date of this post, but he’ll still get $12 million from it annually… even with just six episodes!
7. Anderson Cooper: The host of Anderson Cooper 360 earns a whopping $12 million from CNN annually. That doesn’t include his earnings from being a major correspondent for 60 Minutes.
8. George Stephanopoulos: The ABC News host earns $15 million every year from his show. The fact that he was once an advisor to the Democratic party and President Bill Clinton probably helped, too.
9. Ryan Seacrest (again): The television and radio personality earns even more for the syndicated talk show Live With Kelly and Ryan, with $15 million annually, than he does for American Idol.
10. Pat Sajak: Hosting the syndicated game show Wheel of Fortune, as he’s been doing since 1981—save for a two-year break in which he tried to be a late night host—earns Sajak $15 million per year.
11. Jimmy Kimmel: The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live earns a cool $15 million per year for his late night hosting duties on ABC, which doesn’t include his numerous other comedy credits.
12. Stephen Colbert: Like his late night rival Jimmy Kimmel, the current Late Show host takes home $15 million annually for his duties. He had previously gained recognition for the satirical Colbert Report, but playing it (relatively) straight now seems to be paying off!
13. Jimmy Fallon: At a salary of $16 million per year for NBC’s The Tonight Show, the former Saturday Night Live star earns more than any other current late night talk show host on air today.
14. Robin Roberts: The anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, who has been with the show since 2005, earns $18 million per year. Previously, she had been an ESPN sportscaster.
15. Megyn Kelly: The NBC News host, who had previously made a name for herself on Fox News, now earns $18 million per year. The journalist is also a former corporate defense attorney.
16. Kelly Ripa: The co-host of the syndicated Late Night with Kelly and Ryan has seen her show go through various host changes since 2001, when she replaced Kathy Lee Gifford to sit alongside TV veteran Regis Philbin. That hasn’t stopped her from earning $22 million every year for sticking around.
17. Katy Perry: For the massively successful pop star, it might come as a surprise to some fans that she joined American Idol as a host… which may be why ABC is paying her $25 million per year.
18. Matt Lauer: The longtime host of The Today Show on NBC earns $25 million per year. Besides leading that show for two decades, he also has a role as a contributor for Dateline NBC.
19. Judy Sheindlin: Judge Judy herself earns $47 million per year for literally judging people (as this is her actual job) on her syndicated, eponymous show, which has been on the air since 1996.
20. Ellen DeGeneres: The comedienne and actress was a star long before her syndicated daytime talk show began in 2003, but The Ellen DeGeneres Show now earns her a whopping $50 million annually!
Charm certainly has certainly paid off for each of these television hosts. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’ve got the gift of gab!
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