Ashton Kutcher is the highest paid TV actor, makes $24 million a year

I will admit to having an FML moment when I heard of Ashton Kutcher’s enormous salary. I mean he makes more than I will earn in several lifetimes for a cushy catered job playing himself on TV. Then again, I sit on my ass typing gossip all day, it’s not like I have to dig ditches, so I shouldn’t complain. It’s all relative I guess. I should be more bemused than envious at the fact that Ashton is now the highest paid actor on television at a whopping $24 million a year. Still, a small fraction of that money would change most anyone’s life. And here it is going to Ashton goofball douchebag Kutcher. Kutcher still makes less than Charlie Sheen did at $40 million a year!

Forbes just released the annual list of highest paid TV actors and Ashton is at the top. Following at a somewhat close second is Hugh Laurie, who earned $18 million for House. That’s an enormous amount of money, but Hugh is talented and he carried House. Kutcher, not so much. Ray Romano tied with Laurie, as Forbes includes all earnings for an actor in their rankings, not just specific to one TV show. Here’s more:

Charlie Sheen? Who’s Charlie Sheen? The volatile actor topped our list of the Highest-Paid TV Actors last year with $40 million. This year he’s nowhere to be seen, while the actor who took over his lead role on the hit CBS sitcom Two and A Half Men reigns in the No. 1 spot. We estimate that Ashton Kutcher earned $24 million between May 2011 and May 2012.

Kutcher has proven that he can hold his own on the show. Two and a Half Men attracts an average of 12.4 million viewers per episode, making it one of the most-watched sitcom on TV. That’s given Kutcher plenty of money to invest in the Silicon Valley startups that have become his passion. Kutcher was an early investor in Skype, Spotify and Airbnb…

The numbers for the Highest-Paid TV Actor list come from our Celebrity 100 research and reflect estimated earnings between May 2011 and May 2012. We do not deduct for manager and agent fees or the other costs of being a celebrity.

Ranking second on our list behind Kutcher are Hugh Laurie and Ray Romano, who both earned $18 million. This is likely the last year for Laurie on the list. His Fox show, House, ended its eight-year run in May. Laurie will continue to earn from House in syndication, but his earnings are set to suffer unless he gets another show or beefs up his movie career.

Romano made a brief return to the small screen with Men of a Certain Age. The TNT show was critically acclaimed but never attracted a very large audience. TNT canceled it last year after only two seasons. Romano still earns plenty though from reruns of his beloved show Everybody Loves Raymond and the Ice Age franchise, in which he plays wooly mammoth Manny. The fourth Ice Age movie earned $860 million at the global box office.

Alec Baldwin and Mark Harmon tie for fourth place with $15 million each. For years Baldwin has been talking about ending his run on 30 Rock as the awesome executive Jack Donaghy. Now he’ll get his chance to spread his wings. The ratings-challenged sitcom is in its final season. He’ll next voice a tough-talking Santa Claus in DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians.

[From Forbes]

Ray Romano is now on one of my favorite shows, NBC’s “Parenthood,” and I have to say he’s really good on it. You can tell what a versatile actor he is, since Parenthood is a drama and he’s very believable as a curmudgeon type who is not at all like his character on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

As for Ashton Kutcher’s salary, I’ve already said just about everything I wanted to. The dude makes $24 million a year and somehow he scored Mila Kunis. (See the first part of that sentence.) It doesn’t seem “fair,” but life isn’t fair I guess. That’s just how it is.

Photo credit: PRPhotos

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85 Responses to “Ashton Kutcher is the highest paid TV actor, makes $24 million a year”

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  1. India says:

    Ashton is not worth sh*t.

    • Roxy says:

      He cannot act! He just plays Kelso, over and over and gets paid THAT? & That has to be the worst picture ever of a celeb, the top pic. Eww! Awful. Kelso and Jackie will not last either. It’s a fling thing. He bugs me, thats all. Britany Murphy told Leno that Ashton had a very small peen, so I have to laugh when I see him. even if it’s not true, she said it and there will always be us who know, who saw her say it live! I kinda believe it anyways. I want to smack the sh** outta him, what douchebag. He is not an actor, he’s faking his way to the top. Did I say “faking”?

      • bec says:

        here!! here!! to India and Roxy!! Spot on!!
        This guy constantly surprises me that he has not been punched yet!
        If his name alone wasn’t enough to make you want to throttle him, the person himself seals the deal easily.
        Ash-twat Kutcher is a portrait of bland American mediocrity at its most saccharine and f**ked.
        I mean he even admits to and is proud of the fact he became a household name through his acting in the crime-against-humanity soap -That 70’s Show. But most pointedly and justly as the quasi-great husband to the beautiful yet tragic Demi More.
        When watching this guy on television, I crave a commercial break for the honest retail relief it brings.
        He should be taken away and quietly poisoned for the soulless, vacuous, generic mediocrity he is.

      • Hibitta says:

        I don’t like the guy at all but making fun of something that he has absolutely no control over is extremely tacky. Kind of like someone saying that a woman has small breasts. That makes her less of a woman in your logic too, right?

      • Dark X says:

        Hmmm, maybe that explains all the long dong jokes they make about him on the show….over-compensating.

      • jo says:

        Totaly right on… he acts like Julia Roberts same version in every movie.. very annoying.. and stupid.. he just a geeky kid with a nice face..

      • Maddie says:

        Between Ashton and Ryan Seacrest, both of them should be featured on Unsolved Mysteries as to why their famous and getting paid big salaries.

        I watched Seacrest interview the first lady and I still don’t understand how that happened

  2. marie says:

    smug sack o’ sh-t..he’s got such a punchable face..

    I have had a crush on Mark Harmon since Summer School. I really wishe he’d get a different haircut though.

  3. Teka says:

    Too much money, not enough talent.

  4. Annie says:

    Amazing. Another awful person who never suffered the consequences for his actions. He cheated, he’s a douche, and life rewards him with a crazy salary and a hot girlfriend. How does this happen? Are we duped into being good people? Because a lot of us are good and can’t catch a break! And awful people see abundance, luck, rewards, success. Maybe they made a pact with the devil.

    • Jayna says:

      Seriously? Cheating should banish him from success? Well, then fire most of all Hollywood. Demi’s three children are still close to him, so there’s a lot more to the story than we see, considering they are close to him and seem estranged from Demi.

      Namely, Demi had an open-policy as far as threesomes with Ashton, she is huffing whatever it was she was doing to get high with young women, doing drugs, drinking heavily, tweeting bikini photos of herself. Demi has issues. Ashton probably wanted out of the marriage way before. I’m not excusing him, but cheating on a woman that openly invited other young girls into their marriage for them both to enjoy doesn’t make me too sympathetic when he sleeps with one without her and it was obviously the end of their marrige as it was her birthday or their anniversary, something, and they were spending it apart.

      I’m more angry that he gets that much because he brings no talent to the show. He is a one-note actor. I can never get through an episode when I’ve tried. Charlie had an edge. I stlll believe Hugh Grant would have been perfect.

    • carrie says:

      i don’t care about the cheating or if he’s a douche! i care that he’s not enough talented to deserve this money

      • Scarlett says:

        Agreed. He is extremely short on real talent other than self-promotion. I scratch my head as to why this oddity makes so much money and attracts women like Mila Kunis. I can’t think of anything this guy has done professionally that would merit attention or a substantial salary. That said, he is actually probably better suited for tv because he really sucks as an actor.

  5. fabgrrl says:

    Nice, old-man sweater. Ass.

  6. LeeLoo says:

    I’d be pissed if this was Crackie Crackhan we were talking about but Ashton Kutcher…eh…not so much. One could have said the same about Charlie Sheen too. It’s the highest rated t.v. show by a lot so I see where extra compensation should come in. For me Ashton is not deserving solely based on talent and it has little to do with his personal life. I do believe he put up with a lot of drama and b.s. with Demi and I do think he was over that relationship and Demi refused to acknowledge it. I’ve never been 100% comfortable branding him a cheater even though that’s exactly what he did. I still think he’s an idiot but he is the one guy who I think deserves to have us cut him a little extra slack when it comes to Demi. I think if Hugh Laurie was making $24mil no one would be complaining. But only because there is no question of Hugh’s talent as an actor.

  7. Oi says:

    Mark Harmon! Can I marry that adorable son of yours that plays young Gibbs? That is all.

  8. Hmmm says:

    Love love love Hugh Laurie..

  9. dooliloo says:

    Charlie Sheen earned $40 million last year whereas Asthon made almost $20 million less… the money crisis is everywhere eh…

    The only reason I liked Everybody Loves Raymond was because of Peter Boyle.

    Didn’t know that agent Gibbs had a Star on the HWOF?

    • the original bellaluna says:

      Right? Where was the fanfare when that happened? And did you know he’s been married to Mindy (from Mork & Mindy) for over 20 years?

      I just LOVE that man! 😀

      • dooliloo says:

        I know right??? But then when a talentless actor/actress gets his/her star in less than 2 years, it’s like “woa dude Obama is visiting get them cameras ready!!!”

        Hahaha noooo didn’t know that he married Mork wife??? That’s awesome 😀

        That man is… he made me SWOON in Chicago Hope raaaaahhhh!

  10. Insertrandomname says:

    i want to marry hugh laurie:( so kick ass its insane

    • Cherry says:

      Noooo, get your hands off him, he’s mine! 😉
      LOVE Laurie. I’m not sure how much a tv actor is supposed to be paid and 18 million dollars a year sounds like a crazy amount of money, but it’s certainly true that without Laurie, ‘House’ would never have been as succesful. He’s really a tremendous actor, both in drama and comedy.

      • Lee says:

        Cherry….absolutely agree with you….Hugh Laurie made that wonderful show and I was absolutely heartbroken when it went off the air. Yes, Mr. Laurie is very talented and I had the most wonderful time this summer when I had the chance to see him in concert with The Copper Bottom Band. He sings, plays guitar and piano….acts….also VERY easy on the eyes.

      • NYC_girl says:

        He has a small role in Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson’s version) and he is so great. Great range. LOVE LOVE LOVE him.

  11. apsutter says:

    F*** this POS…seriously. Can someone please take all of this douchebags salary and give it to Bryan Cranston? I just can’t even deal with all of these terrible shows that are ratings gang busters but are the most insufferable pieces of garbage. This men bullshit is right up there with Everybody Loves Raymond. I cant wait till CBS isn’t a “thing” anymore.

  12. CAM says:

    When i say Ray in Parenthood, i was so happy! From the start i wished he would appear in more than one ep, and when he did i wished he could end up having a bigger role, and now (no spoilers) i’m rooting for him and the direction they’re hopefully gonna take with his character and a certain other character…

    Also Men of a Certain Age was funny. i wasn’t even it’s target demo, but it entertained me. Ray really can act.

    • LeeLoo says:

      I was sad they got rid of Men of a Certain Age. But mainly because I love Scott Bakula.

      • Hautie says:

        I had really liked that show too!

        And from what I gather, its main audience was female.

        I recall Ray in an interview talking about how the show was a big hit with the ladies. Which surprised him.

    • megs283 says:

      I thought the show was depressing, but I know that my (male) boss, who is in his 40s, really enjoyed it and related to it.

    • betty_k says:

      Never got the allure of Everybody loves Raymond but watched his documentary and loved it and and became a huge fan of him (95 Miles to Go).

      Men of a Certain Age was wonderful. (still have their Pandora stations on my shuffle in memoriam)

      Now… Ray Romano is the best thing on Parenthood. Who knew the great impact that he would make on the show. I *do not* want him to leave. Make him permanent. Do it. Do it now.

  13. ladybert62 says:

    I love Mark Harmon!

    wont even comment on Ashton-boy.

  14. Hautie says:

    I hope Jon Cryer has the same income for that show.

    • NYC_girl says:

      I hope Duckie is bringing it home too. Def FML moment regardless.

      Hugh Laurie… mmmmmmmmm

    • Jennika says:

      I think Jon’s making less, which is total bullshit

      • wild flower says:

        Maybe with his Emmy he’ll have a bit more clout. He’s the only reason I watch the show now and again.
        And as for 24 million, why why why? 23 was unacceptable? Or any other crazy amount that has lots of millions in the title. Bitter much? Yup. Gotta go, off to the food pantry to pick up some canned goods.

    • lucy2 says:

      He’s on the list, reportedly making $13 million.

    • KellyinSeattle says:

      It’s a travesty that Jon won an Emmy.

  15. JM says:

    So. Wrong.

  16. the original bellaluna says:

    A FML moment, indeed. Excuse me while I go stick my head in the oven.

  17. jamminatorr says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here – if it includes all TV income wouldn’t it also include the money he gets from the syndication of That 70’s Show? There are lots of reruns.

  18. Lisa says:

    Yeah, Hugh also had to work for that money. I mean not in the way most people have to work, but relative to say, Ashton, maintaining an American accent all the time and doing it well, constantly inhabiting the mind of someone who has serious problems, etc., would be draining.

    Also, Laurie is one of the very few actors I’ve seen who’s able to maintain a foreign accent even while playing emotional scenes. Most actors using another accent lose it, at least a little bit, when they yell or cry, etc. I’ve seen almost every episode of House, and I can’t recall a single moment when Laurie didn’t sound truly American.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      A few years ago, I heard an interview on CBC Radio One in which some lady whose name I’ve forgotten (I’m not trying to be dismissive of her, although I’m not if in her fan club) was talking about the challenges associated with tackling an accent that isn’t one’s own and there was some back and forth about who does it well and who does not inspire confidence. I can’t remember her legitimate professional qualifications but she’s not a charlatan. What struck me (and the interviewer and apparently a whole bunch of listeners based on the response covered the then day) was that she leaned extremely heavily on the fact that she has lived in a world urban centre (London, England) and therefore absorbs an ear for skill versus failures in execution through osmosis, I guess, and that her finely-tuned ear just had a wider recognition palate than the rest of us could hope to achieve. A pretty patronizing position to to take, no?

      Keep in mind, she was doing all of this scoffing whilst being interviewed from a studio in Toronto. Alright, so that shows us that self-awareness wasn’t really her impenetrable fortress. At any rate, they then started discussing some all-time bad accents and it was rolling along smoothly. They included Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, Julianne Moore on 30 Rock, the embarrassing disgrace that was Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Angelina Jolie in Alexander, etc.

      And then came the wackness: She apologized to all North Americans (who can recognize believability in various North American accents) for the work done by Hugh Laurie on House, and she just excoriated him, calling his accent work one of the worst in history. Um, Le What? The interviewer disagreed and mentioned that he had not met anyone local enough to know a jalopy from a Maybach who would agree with her premise, so he opened it up to the listeners. Radioland kids, is she right?

      Evidently, she was not correct.

      • orion70 says:

        I quite like Julianne Moore, but her accent in The Shipping News was HORRIBLE.

      • Lisa says:

        Wow, how strange. Even the creator of House has come out and said that at first, based on Laurie’s audition tape, he thought Laurie was American! I remember constantly being impressed by how well his American accent held together in those intense scenes, of which House had so so so many over the years. Plus, he’s such a good actor. What a strange perspective on the matter that lady had!

  19. Green is Good says:

    There is no Dog, if Asston is bringing home that kind of bank.

    • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

      Yes. The news about Ashton, coupled with KStew as world’s highest paid actress, again makes me question the justice of the Universe.

  20. lori says:

    still love Mark Harmon.

  21. I'm going to Guam! says:

    Oh Mila, it all makes sense now….get that money girl!

  22. keats says:

    How much are Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul making, I wonder?

  23. jamminatorr says:

    As much as Laurie was awesome in House, he will always be the Prince Regent to me.

    • B says:

      Yeah I loved him in Black Adder!

    • Cherry says:

      The great thing about Laurie, really, is how he manages to play so many entirely different roles and still be believable. Ever caught and episode of ‘A bit of Fry and Laurie’? It’s just unbelievable to think that that is the same man who played Greg House. It’s like he’s a totally different person- and I’m not just talking about the American accent. His whole body language is different.

      • Lisa says:

        Yeah, everything I’ve seen Laurie in has impressed me. He really does become the character he’s playing in so many ways.

  24. B says:

    Who the hell watches 2 1/2 Men? It was unwatchable with Sheen (I tried), and I’m not even going to think about attempting a glance with Ashton as the lead. The only thing he was ever believable in was Dude Where’s My Car

  25. hoya_chick says:

    This makes me sad for humanity.

    • Really? says:

      ITA, i think it’s a disgusting reflection of our society when these trained parrots make such obscene amounts of money just for memorizing lines and recycling high school theatre, passing it off like it’s “art.”

  26. Aria says:

    I don’t get Ashton appealing. Not now not when he was in That 70s show.

  27. Clare says:

    There is no denying that ashton is HOT- but it is a whole different story when it comes to his so called talent. I guess his looks are enough coz no matter what role he takes on, he will always be Kelso.

    The show was far better with Charlie Sheen- I’ve never even been able to finish one episode since Ashton. I used to watch it religiously. What a shame!

  28. cliau says:

    and he sucks

  29. j.eyre says:

    What I choose to take from this post are the last three pictures.

  30. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    If he has so much money, why is he getting his hair cut by Kirk Douglas? Is Col. Dax experiencing financial instability? Is it the economy?

  31. bowers says:

    It’s America, where an icky stupid white guy can rise above himself.

  32. lucy2 says:

    That’s a shame – there are some REALLY talented actors on TV right now, but this tool is making probably as much as most of them combined.

    I never cared much for Ray as an actor (never saw his most recent show) but I have to admit, he’s been great on Parenthood.

  33. vic says:

    Maybe this is why Demi is so depressed.

  34. Rux says:

    Look, the guy did well on that 70s show and he has good comedic timing. He used that fame to parlay his “Punk’d” series on MTV. With his money he invested in a lot of Startups in Silicon Valley (I worked in Finance, no judgement please, school loans are expensive) and made wise decisions. From a business perspective, I have to give him kudos for what he has managed to pull off. As a human being and male, he is a piece of shit for the way he made his exit strategy from the Demi debacle/marriage.

    **(I do not know Ashton, I am not Ashton, his Publicist, Manager, friend, etc,) I am just stating my opinion.

    Life is not fair and I am part of the 47% that Romney does not give a shit about yet I work 60 hour weeks; go figure.

    • Dark X says:

      How do you work 60 hours a week and not pay income taxes? Or are you just making a political point because your Messiah is losing?

  35. Dani says:

    I think it’s kind of rude to say Ashton Kutcher doesn’t deserve his salary. Yes it’s an absurd amount and yes it could save 1000 families but he’s worked for it. He auditions, he performs, he delivers. He does all that he is supposed to, just like the others on the list (and not) do. So why not him? Because he’s ‘douchey’ he doesn’t deserve to get paid? Because he cheated? Because he plays dumb characters? Ones allegedly ‘terrible’ personality shouldn’t effect their work/income.

  36. Skins says:

    I don’t watch the show but I’m curious, does anybody actually tune in just to see this tool? I think people tuned in to see Charley but I’m kind of doubting that people sit there and say “Hey, lets watch Ashton on 2 1/2 men” They could probably get somebody a lot cheaper and not really lose any viewers. Such a tool!

  37. littlestar says:

    Hugh Laurie is an incredible actor. House was really one of the best shows on regular cable (although sadly the last season was a disappointment).

  38. Christine says:

    It’s a sign of the apocalypse.

  39. Aud says:

    How is this possible?

  40. GoodCapon says:

    So that’s almost 2 million per month? GTFO.

  41. Shoe_lover says:

    This is disgusting considering that there are so many talented actors on TV that dont even make a quarter of that. How the hell does he earn more than Jim Parsons!!!!!!

    Also- Mark Harmon= yum!

  42. Ranunculus says:

    I am still completely confused how a cheap and fugly guy like Kutcher was able to land talented stunner like Mila Kunis. He must have slipped something into her drink. Hopefully it’s just a showmance, other wise I sincerely question her judgement, but even if that’s the case she could do so much better.

  43. ukuk says:

    the first pic of him is one of the most ugliest pics ive EVER seen of him!!! BARF!!!!!!!!

  44. Katie says:

    Of all the over rated people on Hollywood, I’d say he has got to be the number one!

  45. small business quarterly taxes says:

    I hope the strippers are both male and female. This religion should appeal to the broadest base possible.

  46. Bree says:

    He’s Tom Cruise in that first picture.