Hollywood’s top television stars are pulling in big bucks, but a quick look at the list of the past year’s successes proves show business still has a glass ceiling. Men rank number one, and not just from their leading small-screen roles, but from lucrative side projects too.
Simon Cowell is no longer the top judge on ‘American Idol,’ but his bank account solidified his lead as the biggest money maker in TV land last year, totaling $80 million, according to Forbes.com. His record label profits and British programming productions are cited as factors in his winning salary.
‘American Idol’ is also responsible for the number two guy on the list, Ryan Seacrest. He earned $51 million from his Fox hosting gig, along with his radio contract, hosting duties on E! Entertainment and various spokesperson roles.
Wedging a gap between the top two men is none other than ‘Idol’s’ one-season judge, Ellen DeGeneres. Her ‘Idol’ stint, coupled with daytime’s ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show‘ and American Express ads, helped the #1 top-earning female TV star rake in $55 million.
$25 million dollar baby Tyra Banks and a $15.5 million haul by Katherine Heigl (formerly of ‘Grey’s Anatomy‘) make those ladies the number two and three earners on the women’s side of the list last year.
Meanwhile, ‘Apprentice‘ master Donald Trump‘s $50 million entertainment earnings slotted him at number three for the men, with Steve Carell ($34M) and Charlie Sheen ($30M) rounding out the Top 5.
What do you think about the differences in salaries among the men and women on TV?