What does it take to get the big bucks on TV in the U.S.? We're not talking just good salaries, or even great salaries, but sky-high earnings? It helps to have a hit show. If you're a star of a No. 1-rated series, you'll probably feel the network's appreciation. Sometimes actors at the top get their pay doubled. If you have a history of hits, even better. A proven track record is a network's dream.
There are other ways to get membership in this exclusive club. Movies stars that make the switch from the big screen to the TV screen sometimes draw huge salaries because they draw huge audiences. Leads in premium cable shows might have extremely high weekly paychecks because there are fewer paydays. Typically, cable series don't make as many episodes per season as broadcast shows. Also, a cast that negotiates as a group may have a better chance of winning. There's strength in numbers. Check out the following numbers for the salaries of America's best-paid TV performers.