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

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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Jesse L. Martin does not appear in Gotham. He stars in The Flash, another DC comic book show.


I'm surprised Robin Roberts isn't paid more given that ABC's Good Morning America's ratings frequently beat NBC's Today's show.


Dankwa Brooks in all of these categories African-Americans make far less than their white counterparts. Nene Leakes of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" should make more than a $1 million per season, since she is by far the most popular housewife in the franchise. What the about the salaries for:

Gaius Charles "Grey's Anatomy"
Lamorne Morris & Damon Wayans Jr. "New Girl"
Terry Crews "Brooklyn Nine Nine"
Ice-T "Law & Order: SVU"
Terrence Jenkins or Terrence J "E! News"
AJ Calloway "Extra"
Rev. Al Sharpton "Politics Nations with Rev. Al Sharpton"
Wendy Williams "The Wendy Williams Show"
KeKe Palmer "Just KeKe"
Steve Harvey "The Steve Harvey Show"
Charles Payne "Making Money with Charles Payne"

TV Guide didn't list their salaries!


Some folks need new agents: Octavia Spencer, Andre Braugher and Halle Berry. These folks are Oscar and Emmy winners and only commanding that chicken feed? Octavia only $75,000 per episode? Really? Andre only $100,000 per episode? Andre's whole acting career was on TV! Halle only $100,000 and a co-producer? Kevin Spacey is on the internet commanding $500,000 plus executive producer!
What happened to the salaries of the most over hyped TV series…Scandal? If Taylor Schilling is getting $30,000 for Orange Is The New Black, then those black actresses must be getting $5,000 a piece (if that much)! Black folks really do sell their souls for cheap!


I'm not a reality tv fan but the real folks who should be requesting an increase are some of the reality tv stars, especially from Love and Hip Hip Atlanta. That show continues to come in at the top with the finale show bringing in over 4 mil. They even beat out Real Housewives of Atlanta as well as The Kardashians. To give you a comparison, the Kardashian finale only garnered 2.8 mil viewers ( a big dip from their highest ratings) yet media still gives you the impression they're the the "top dogs" of the reality world. NOT. I doubt it's a coincidence that so much of their world (Kardashians) is being with or surrounded by black people. Staying in the black rag magazines and gossip blogs is a sure way of staying relevant.


Don't forget Chandra Wilson and James Pickens jr make $125,000


If you post the information and separate out white actors, will people think you work for the Atlanta Hawks and call you racist? Wait, its ok to talk about blacks like this but not whites. I get it.


Really were is teh chettar?
$20 million; Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor; $6.67 per viewer; 2.998 million viewers
$15 million; Sean Hannity, Hannity; $7.74 per viewer; 1.939 million viewers
$13 million; Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams; $1.68 per viewer; 7.736 million viewers
$12 million; Diane Sawyer, World News with Diane Sawyer; $1.63 per viewer; 7.32 million viewers
$11 million; Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper 360°; $18.09 per viewer; 608,000 viewers
$10 million; Shepard Smith, Fox Report and Studio B; $5.33 per viewer; 1.877 million viewers
$8 million; Charlie Rose, CBS This Morning; $3.41 per viewer; 2.341 million viewers
$7 million; Al Roker, TODAY; $1.65 per viewer; 4.245 million viewers
$7 million; Bret Baier, Special Report with Bret Baier; $3.37 per viewer; 2.076 million viewers
$6 million; Robin Roberts, Good Morning America; $1.30 per viewer; 4.598 million viewers
$6 million; Piers Morgan, Piers Morgan Tonight; $10.71 per viewer; 560,000 viewers
$5 million; Scott Pelley, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley; $0.87 per viewer; 5.78 million viewers
$5 million; George Stephanopoulos, Good Morning America; $1.09 per viewer; 4.598 million viewers
$5 million; Chris Matthews, Hardball with Chris Matthews; $6.23 per viewer; 803,000 viewers
$4 million; Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe; $10.90 per viewer; 367,000 viewers
$3 million; Wolf Blitzer, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer; $7.30 per viewer; 411,000 viewers
$2 million; Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe; $5.45 per viewer; 367,000 viewers
$2 million; Erin Burnett, OutFront; $3.95 per viewer; 506,000 viewers
$2 million; Gayle King, CBS This Morning; $0.85 per viewer; 2.341 million viewers
$2 million; Savannah Guthrie, TODAY; $0.47 per viewer; 4.245 million viewers


Black actors are still getting paid at the minimum

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