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The highest-paid US television stars have been revealed, with the stars of The Big Bang Theory topping the list for comedy and drama.

Variety surveyed industry figures for the study before estimating the fees that the top talent command on the small screen.


Big Bang actors Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki all receive an estimated $1m (£786,000) per episode.

Gilmore Girls stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel come joint second.

They each earn an estimated $750,000 (£590,000) per show, according to Variety.

The revival of the mother-daughter drama is coming to Netflix next month, with four new episodes, each representing a season of the year.



Big Bang Theory, which centres on a group of high-functioning science “geeks”, is currently on its 10th series.

The total cost is said to be $9m per episode – half of which goes on salaries for its stars.

In the category of reality shows, chat shows and news, Judge Judy topped the list with an annual $47m (£37m), followed by Matt Lauer of Today on $22-25m (£17-20m) and then Ellen DeGeneres on $20m (£16m).

Other high earners in the world of TV drama include Mark Harmon of NCIS, on $525,000 (£413,000) an episode.

He is followed by Kevin Spacey of House of Cards, who is said to receive $500,000 (£393,000) a show.

Variety estimates that the same amount is paid to Game of Thrones cast members Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.


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