10 Highest-paid TV Actors of All Time

Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld continued to make money off “Seinfeld” even after the long-running show ended. Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Hulu

For a show about "nothing," "Seinfeld" made a big splash. It won 10 Emmy awards [source: CNN]. America welcomed catchphrases, such as "no soup for you" and "yada, yada, yada," into daily language. Debuting on NBC in 1989, the comedy didn't have typical heartwarming moments; the characters were aloof and self-absorbed. This detachment earned Jerry Seinfeld, who played a fictional version of himself, $1 million per episode [source: Pener and Shaw]. It also gave him bragging rights: Seinfeld was the first sitcom actor to hit that mark [source: Hontz]. He had made his own way to the top, co-creating the series with Larry David.

NBC tried to entice Seinfeld to extend the life of the show, offering him $5 million an episode for the 1998 to 1999 season. Seinfeld declined, wanting the series to end on a high point. The money wasn't really an issue anyway. In the 16 years immediately following the finale, "Seinfeld" reruns brought in more than $3 billion.