Actors and musicians can earn ridiculous amounts of money, but they’re not the only stars who are raking it in. It takes a lot of time, energy and hard work to build a loyal daily audience, but that kind of hard work can really pay off–and we mean that literally–for television hosts. And whether it’s a daytime talk show or a courtroom series, they have what it takes to not only keep fans entertained but to make a pretty penny while doing it.
The late-night hosts might get most of the attention but daytime is where the money is at. The verdict is in, and for the first year ever, Forbes has named Judge Judy host Judy Sheindlin the highest paid TV host of the year, not only ruling her own courtroom but all of television.
The business mag compiled the list by estimating their pre-tax income for the 12-month period from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018.
For the rest of the hosts, check out the complete list below:
5. Steve Harvey ($44,000,000)
The actor-comedian made the move to hosting and never looked back. Though he continues to show up on the occasional film project, it’s the small screen that has given Harvey the most success, whether he’s hosting his daytime show Steve, a hit game show like Family Feud, kids’ showcase Little Big Shots, or the Miss Universe pageant.
4. Ryan Seacrest ($74,000,000)
Kelly Ripa may be the heart of Live! With Kelly and Ryan but her newest co-host brings home significantly more bacon. Their morning show is just a drop in the bucket for Ryan as Seacrest also helms American Idol, will host Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve once again, and is executive producer of that little reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
3. Dr. Phil McGraw ($77,500,000)
Dr. Phil is one of the most watched syndicated shows on television, but he’s also added executive producer to his resume, not only for his own show but also Face the Truth and the CBS drama Bull, which is inspired by the early parts of his career.
2. Ellen DeGeneres ($87,500,000)
She makes eight figures from hosting her daytime show, but combined with her producer salaries (Splitting Up Together, Little Big Shots, Ellen’s Game of Games), licensing deals with PetSmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond and many others, and the record-setting $20-million paycheque Netflix paid her for her upcoming stand-up special, Relatable, it’s Ellen’s most lucrative year yet. But STILL nowhere near enough to take the No. 1 spot.
1. Judy Sheindlin ($147,000,000)
Sheindlin’s sharp wit and stern demeanor has never changed in her show’s two-plus decades, and she continues to bring in an audience of over 9.5 million daily viewers. But what really put her over the edge this year was when she sold the rights to Judge Judy reruns for an estimated $100 million; the sale more than tripled her usual annual earnings. Damn, Judy.