Huge television stars appearing in successful television series can have incredibly lucrative careers while on television. But did you know that often their highest earning years are after their television show leaves the airways.
These actors and actresses continue to earn millions from reruns, even long after the production of the series has ended. This steady stream of income can persist for years and sometimes even decades, contributing to their overall wealth.
Check out the following list of the biggest paychecks that television stars receive EVERY YEAR! This list will certainly blow your mind.
Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory
Johnny Galecki, who played Leonard on The Big Bang Theory, may make more than $10 million every year from reruns of the show. He also gets extra money from his past work on Roseanne in the 1990s.
Tim Allen – Home Improvement
Home Improvement, a sitcom from the 1990s, was very successful, although not as famous as Seinfeld and Friends. Tim Allen’s energetic performance as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor was a big part of its success. The show helped Allen become a star in movies and TV, and he has made almost $18 million since the series ended.
Ray Romano – Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond was a very popular family sitcom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It ran for 9 seasons and was inspired by comedian Romano’s own family. Since the show ended in 2005, Romano has earned $18 million each year just from reruns and residuals. It seems like everyone truly does love him!
Ted Danson – Cheers
Almost four decades ago, Ted Danson became famous for playing bartender Sam Malone in the popular NBC show Cheers. Although not everyone may recognize him today, Danson continues to earn a generous amount of money from the series. He makes $5 million every year from residuals, even 25 years after the show ended. Besides Cheers, Danson has also worked on other TV shows like Becker, CSI, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death, and The Good Place.
Alex Borstein – Family Guy
You might not recognize Alex Borstein’s face unless you watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but you probably know her voice if you’ve watched TV in recent years. Borstein has been a writer and the voice of Lois Griffin on Family Guy since the show started in 1999. She now earns $10 million every year from residuals.
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Edie Falco portrayed the wife of mobster Tony Soprano on the popular HBO show The Sopranos. The show remains very popular even after it ended, and as a result, Falco has earned more than $25 million from residuals. Apart from The Sopranos, she has also starred in the series Nurse Jackie and has been part of various Broadway productions.
Ed O’Neill – Married With Children
It’s not common to earn millions of dollars from residuals for a TV role, but our next actor is poised to do it not just once, but twice. Ed O’Neill already makes $10 million every year from rerun residuals for his role as Al Bundy on Married With Children, which he starred in for 10 years. Now that his other highly successful sitcom Modern Family has ended its 11-year run, O’Neill’s annual residuals are likely to increase even more.
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory was a highly influential sitcom in the 2000s and 2010s. Jim Parsons, who portrayed the popular character Sheldon Cooper, is making a lot of money as a result. Towards the end of the show, he earned a staggering $900,000 for each episode. Additionally, Parsons is set to make $10 million every year from profitable deals involving reruns of the show.
Alan Alda – M*A*S*H
Alan Alda became a television superstar through his role as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce on the iconic series M*A*S*H. Even now, after nearly 50 years since the show premiered, Alda still earns around $1 million annually from it. That’s quite impressive!
Charlie Sheen – Two and a Half Men
Charlie Sheen played the character Charlie Harper on Two and a Half Men for nine seasons. Unfortunately, he left the show in a not-so-great way, with a public breakdown and disagreements with producers. However, despite the circumstances of his departure, Sheen has still earned over $20 million from reruns of the show since he left.
David Hasselhoff – Baywatch
Some people may not take David Hasselhoff and his role as lifeguard Mitch Buchannon on Baywatch seriously, but he’s actually making a lot of money. Hasselhoff earns a whopping $4 million every year just from residuals of Baywatch. So, while some may scoff, he’s definitely laughing all the way to the bank!
Betty White – Golden Girls
Betty White has had a successful and fulfilling entertainment career, but her most famous role is in the beloved late 1980s sitcom Golden Girls. Even now, White continues to earn $3 million per year from the series.
Kelsey Grammer – Frasier
Kelsey Grammer portrayed Frasier Crane in the last 8 seasons of Cheers and went on to star in the spinoff series Frasier. This remarkable run has resulted in a significant financial gain for Grammer. He currently earns $13 million annually in residuals from both shows.
Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David – Seinfeld
Seinfeld is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most successful sitcoms ever created. It continues to be a major source of income for its creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Remarkably, each of them earns a staggering $110 million every year from the series. It’s like having an ATM that never runs out!
The Cast of “Friends”
The cast of Friends, another immensely popular sitcom from the 90s, is also handsomely rewarded with residuals. The six main cast members – David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow – each earn a remarkable $20 million per year from the series. They continue to benefit from the show’s enduring popularity.
Mark Harmon – NCIS
Mark Harmon, the star of NCIS, has earned an impressive $60 million from residuals of the show’s reruns. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy because new episodes of the series were still being aired as of 2020. It’s a testament to the enduring popularity of NCIS and Harmon’s successful portrayal of his character.
John Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Similar to his former co-star Charlie Sheen, John Cryer, who played the other main character in Two and a Half Men, has also earned around $20 million from residuals of the series. However, unlike Sheen, Cryer’s career is still thriving, and he has not experienced any public breakdowns.
Lucille Ball (and Her Estate) – I Love Lucy
Lucille Ball is truly one of the most influential figures in the history of American entertainment. Her iconic role in the 1950s classic series I Love Lucy essentially pioneered the concept of televised sitcoms and remains a beloved part of our culture. In the years leading up to her death in the late 1980s, Ball earned a remarkable $17 million annually for the series. After her passing, those earnings started going to her estate, and they continue to this day, honoring her legacy.
Nancy Cartwright – The Simpsons
Nancy Cartwright, the talented comedian, has been the voice of the iconic character Bart Simpson for more than 30 years. Thanks to this role, she earns an impressive $20 million per year from residuals of The Simpsons reruns. In addition to that, she is paid $400,000 per episode for new installments of the show. With her earnings, Cartwright can buy as many cows as she pleases!
Bob Denver (and His Estate) – Gilligan’s Island
Although Bob Denver, the star of Gilligan’s Island, didn’t earn the massive salaries seen by today’s TV stars while the show was on air, he and his estate have made up for it through rerun and residual payments. Over the years, the Denver estate has earned an impressive $90 million and counting. The enduring popularity of Gilligan’s Island continues to bring financial success to the late actor and his family.
Ricky Gervais – The Office
Ricky Gervais continues to earn $1 million annually in residuals for his role in the original U.K. version of The Office. This is quite impressive considering that there are only 14 episodes of the U.K. version. It shows the lasting impact and popularity of the series, allowing Gervais to enjoy ongoing financial success from his work on the show.
Tom Kenny – Spongebob Squarepants
Tom Kenny has been the voice behind the beloved character of SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon since the show first aired in 1999. For his work, Kenny earns an impressive $11 million annually. It’s safe to say that voicing such an iconic character is not only enjoyable but also financially rewarding.
George Clooney – ER
Although it can be easy to forget amidst his movie star status, George Clooney’s breakthrough came as the star of NBC’s ER. While many may not realize it, Clooney’s accountant certainly does, as the actor still earns an impressive $13 million annually from the series. This serves as a testament to the enduring success of his role and the impact it had on his career.
Julie Louis-Dreyfus – Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t have ownership of Seinfeld like creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, she has still earned a substantial amount from the series over the years. Dreyfus has accumulated an impressive $400 million from Seinfeld residuals. This speaks to the immense success and enduring popularity of the show, contributing significantly to her overall earnings.
John Goodman – Roseanne
John Goodman has been fortunate in the Roseanne universe. He continues to earn a substantial income from reruns of the original series, even more than two decades after it ended. Additionally, Goodman currently stars in The Conners, a spin-off of the Roseanne reboot, which was canceled due to the offensive remarks made by the show’s titular star. Despite the challenges faced by the franchise, Goodman’s involvement has remained financially rewarding for him.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic
Residuals aren’t limited to television stars; even movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio can benefit greatly from them. DiCaprio earns an estimated $12 million annually from television airings of the iconic film Titanic. While it may seem like a substantial amount, given DiCaprio’s successful career, he certainly doesn’t lack financial stability.
Dr. Phil – Dr. Phil
Dr. Phil McGraw has been hosting his successful talk show for more than 15 years, attracting a large and devoted fanbase. With an extensive catalogue of episodes, McGraw earns an estimated $10 million per year. His long-running show has contributed significantly to his financial success and continued popularity.
David Hyde Pierce – Frasier
David Hyde Pierce, known for his role as Niles Crane on Frasier, has also been quite successful in terms of earnings. His critically acclaimed performance and numerous awards have contributed to his financial success. Since the series ended, Pierce has accumulated over $40 million from his role as Niles Crane. It’s a testament to the enduring popularity and impact of the character and the show itself.
Tracey Ullman – The Tracey Ullman Show
Tracey Ullman, a highly accomplished comedian, has achieved great success throughout her career, including starring in various television shows. However, the majority of her fortune stems from a series that she had relatively little involvement in. In 1989, a new series called The Simpsons was created based on animated bumpers that appeared between sketches on Ullman’s Fox variety show, The Tracey Ullman Show. The Simpsons became a massive hit, and Ullman has reaped the financial benefits of its success for the past 30 years.
Topher Grace – That 70’s Show
Topher Grace, known for his role as Eric Foreman on That ’70s Show, has been greatly supported by residuals from the series even after it ended in 2006. These ongoing payments have given Grace the freedom to pursue projects he genuinely enjoys and decline high-paying offers that don’t interest him. In 2018, he shared his realization that being on a long-running sitcom had brought him financial security, making him feel fortunate and content. Grace expressed gratitude for the stability it provided and acknowledged that he didn’t need excessive wealth.