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Judge Judy is highest paid TV star

Judge Judy is highest paid TV star
Judith "Judge Judy" Sheindlin arrives for the Vanity Fair Party at the State Supreme Court building which kicks off the start of the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2012 in New York City. UPI /Monika Graff. | License Photo

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.

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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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