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Judge Judy is highest paid TV star

Aug. 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Judge Judy Sheindlin is the highest paid television star in the United States, making $45 million a year for her small-claims court show, TV Guide reported.

David Letterman's salary for being star of the chat program "Late Show with David Letterman" is $28 million, while "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" emcee Jay Leno gets $25 million and "Today" host Matt Lauer earns $21.5 million.

Simon Cowell, lead judge on "The X Factor," technically takes home more money than anyone -- a total of about $90 million a year -- when his earnings from producing and owning other projects are taken into consideration, the New York Daily News said.

The highest paid actor in a scripted drama is Mark Harmon of "NCIS," who earns $500,000 an episode, while Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: SVU" is the highest paid actress, raking in $385,000 an episode, TV Guide said.

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