The highest-paid TV stars in 2018

It’s no secret that television is a lucrative business. And it’s not just a matter of making it to the top, but staying there. The 20 top-paid actors listed here have some major staying power, as some of the shows they star in have been running for 10 years or longer. “The Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS” are all hugely successful shows, and their casts’ salaries reflect their popularity. Find out which highly paid actors are making big money on your favorite shows.

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Highest-paid TV stars in 2018
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Highest-paid TV stars in 2018

Pauley Perrette

Net Worth: $22 million
2018 Earnings: $8.5 million
Series: “NCIS”

Pauley Perrette played plucky forensic scientist Abby Sciuto for over 300 episodes and 15 years on the hit drama “NCIS.” Sadly, she exited the long-running program in spring 2018. In May 2018, Vanity Fair published an article that implied she left the show after multiple physical assaults, based on the actress’ tweets. Perrette has also starred in the series “Fantasy Hospital” and “NCIS: New Orleans.”

Find Out: 20 Richest Actresses of All Time

(Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

Claire Danes

Net Worth: $25 million
2018 Earnings: $9 million
Series: “Homeland”

When Claire Danes began “Homeland” in 2011, she had a “meager” salary of $250,000 per episode alongside co-star Damian Lewis. However, after Lewis departed the show, that freed up the production budget for Danes’ salary increase. As one of the highest-paid actresses on TV, she now takes home twice her original amount per episode.

(Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Andrew Lincoln

Net Worth: $16 million
2018 Earnings: $11 million
Series: “The Walking Dead”

Andrew Lincoln is considered the face of “The Walking Dead,” having played its protagonist, Rick Grimes, since its beginning in 2010. Lincoln’s final episode aired Nov. 4, but he has plans to make future appearances as Grimes via spin-off movies. Before finishing his time on the show, Lincoln was reportedly making $650,000 per “The Walking Dead” episode, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Even After Leaving: Here’s How Much Jennifer Aniston and Other Actors Get Paid for Their Reruns

(Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for New York Comic Con)

Kerry Washington

Net Worth: $18 million
2018 Earnings: $11 million
Series: “Scandal”

Kerry Washington has led the cast of Shonda Rhimes’ political drama “Scandal” for six years and seven seasons, earning some Emmy and Golden Globe nods along the way for her nuanced portrayal of Olivia Pope. Her future plans include entertaining audiences on Broadway in the play “American Son.” She’s also starred in “Django Unchained,” “Cars 3” and “Peeples.”

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Ty Burrell

Net Worth: $26 million
2018 Earnings: $12 million
Series: “Modern Family”

The “Modern Family” actor’s first credited role was in 2001’s “Evolution,” according to IMDB. Since then, he’s cut a wide swathe of genres including action-adventure and horror before landing his iconic role in the lauded family comedy. “Modern Family” is approaching a decade-long run, and his salary as one of the highest-paid actors reflects the show’s popularity: $500,000 per episode. During his off-time, Burrell works with foster youth interested in filmmaking.

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Melissa Rauch

Net Worth: $8 million
2018 Earnings: $12 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

The “Big Bang Theory” actress has played Bernadette Rostenkowski since 2009. Melissa Rauch’s character eventually married Simon Helberg’s character, Howard Wolowitz, in the show’s fifth season finale. She is slated to star in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming Netflix film “The Laundromat”, due for release likely in 2019.

(Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

Mayim Bialik

Net Worth: $25 million
2018 Earnings: $12 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

Mayim Bialik joined the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” in 2010 as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, a role that has garnered her multiple Emmy nods. She began her acting career in the early 1990s as the titular Blossom Russo in the sitcom “Blossom.” She also has appeared on the big screen in “Beaches” and “The Chicago 8.”

(Photo by Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images)

Julie Bowen

Net Worth: $16 million
2018 Earnings: $12.5 million
Series: “Modern Family”

Before she was Claire Dunphy on “Modern Family,” Julie Bowen starred in a variety of television shows and movies that include “Happy Gilmore,” “An American Werewolf in Paris,” “ER,” “Lost” and “Weeds.” According to CheatSheet, she rakes in about $500,000 per episode.

See the Difference: The Salaries of the Richest Actresses Compared to the Richest Actors

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Mariska Hargitay

Net Worth: $50 million
2018 Earnings: $13 million
Series: “Law & Order: SVU”

“Law & Order: SVU,” the feel-good police procedural about a specialized investigative unit that combats sex crimes, has been on the air for nearly 20 years now, and Mariska Hargitay, as the blunt-but-caring Detective Olivia Benson, has been on it since the beginning. She was No. 4 in Forbes’ 2018 list of highest-paid TV actresses, commanding $13 million per season.

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Net Worth: $20 million
2018 Earnings: $13 million
Series: “Modern Family”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has been playing his role as son, brother and father on “Modern Family” for nearly 10 years, like the rest of his castmates. He’s also starred in several TV series including “Do Not Disturb” and “Web Therapy.” In 2016, he lent his voice to the role of Shangri Llama in “Ice Age 3: Collision Course.” His take-home pay per episode on “Modern Family” is — like his “sister” Julie Bowen — $500,000, according to CheatSheet.

But not all celebrities are bringing in big bucks, these stars have way less money than you think.

(Photo by Greg Doherty/WireImage)

Eric Stonestreet

Net Worth: $23 million
2018 Earnings: $13.5 million
Series: “Modern Family”

Like his on-screen husband and sister- and brother-in-law, Eric Stonestreet takes home about $500,000 per episode for his role as Cameron Tucker. Stonestreet also voiced the character of Duke in “The Secret Life of Pets” in 2016.

(Todd Wawrychuk/ABC via Getty Images) 

Ed O'Neill

Net Worth: $65 million
2018 Earnings: $14 million
Series: “Modern Family”

Ed O’Neill might not have been the best dad on “Married With Children” as the incorrigible Al Bundy, but he plays a beloved patriarch with his role as Jay Pritchett on “Modern Family.” The sitcom veteran reportedly takes home about $500,000 per episode, according to E! News.

(Robert Ashcroft via Getty Images)

Mark Harmon

Net Worth: $90 million
2018 Earnings: $19 million
Series: “NCIS”

Mark Harmon has been leading the cast of “NCIS” as Leroy Jethro Gibbs since the show’s beginning in 2003. However, it looks like that could come to an end. Although Harmon agreed to a 16th season, there are rumors that his character might be facing a departure. This could be related to in-cast fighting with Pauley Perrette, who left the show in mid-2018.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Kunal Nayyar

Net Worth: $45 million
2018 Earnings: $23.5 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

As one of the main characters of “The Big Bang Theory,” Kunal Nayyar has been with the series since the beginning as astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali. Although the U.K.-born actor has had recurring appearances on “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory” marks his first time as a series regular. In 2017, Nayyar, along with his fellow core “Big Bang” cast members, agreed to take a pay cut of $100,000 in order to establish equitable pay for fellow co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik.

(Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

Simon Helberg

Net Worth: $45 million
2018 Earnings: $23.5 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

Simon Helberg plays aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz in “The Big Bang Theory,” but older TV audiences might recognize him from his roles in “MADtv,” “Arrested Development” and “Reno 911!” Helberg’s most recent major role was in 2016’s “Florence Foster Jenkins,” where he played a pianist, Cosme McMoon, alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

(Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

Ellen Pompeo

Net Worth: $40 million
2018 Earnings: $23.5 million
Series: “Grey’s Anatomy”

Ellen Pompeo plays Dr. Meredith Grey on “Grey’s Anatomy,” a role she’s crafted for more than 10 years. And she has the earnings to show for it: She earns more than $20 million a year, after negotiating a pay raise in late 2017. “When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, ‘OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this,'” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

(Photo by Morgan Lieberman/FilmMagic)

Kaley Cuoco

Net Worth: $55 million
2018 Earnings: $24.5 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

Kaley Cuoco is part of the core cast on “The Big Bang Theory,” playing the street-smart, sociable Penny as a foil to the geeky assortment of characters. Like her fellow castmates, Cuoco’s role has garnered several award nods, and in 2013 she won best supporting actress in a comedy series at the Critics Choice Television Awards. In 2017, she, along with her co-stars, agreed to take a pay cut to round-out the unequal salaries among the cast. She still earns a reported $1 million per episode.

(Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

Johnny Galecki

Net Worth: $50 million
2018 Earnings: $25 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

Johnny Galecki plays experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter in “The Big Bang Theory.” Like the rest of the cast, his talents have contributed to the show’s multiple Emmy nominations and even some wins. He also starred in “Roseanne” and made an appearance in its 2018 spin-off “The Conners.”

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Jim Parsons

Net Worth: $70 million
2018 Earnings: $26.5 million
Series: “The Big Bang Theory”

Jim Parsons plays theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory,” and is considered by many to be the show’s breakout character. The success of the character was such that it garnered its own spin-off, “Young Sheldon,” to which Parsons still offers his vocal talents. Despite earning around $1 million per episode, Parsons reportedly walked away from a contract extension that not only would’ve kept the show running, but would’ve earned Parsons $50 million over the course of two years.

Who Made the List? The Highest-Grossing Actors of All Time

(Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

Sofia Vergara

Net Worth: $140 million
2018 Earnings: $42.5 million
Series: “Modern Family”

And at the top of the list of 2018’s highest-paid TV stars is Sofia Vergara, for her ongoing role as Gloria on “Modern Family.” She’s so far been nominated for four Golden Globes and four Emmys. Her earnings aren’t strictly from her role on the show. She also has a slew of endorsements that include SharkNinja Coffee and furniture chain Rooms To Go.

Click through to read more about the most successful losers from reality TV shows.

(Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

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