Years Later, Who’s Raking in Royalties and Who Hasn’t Seen a Dime

It’s no secret that famous actors earn insane amounts of money on set. Some get paid a quarter of a million dollars per episode, while others make the whole whopping million. But what happens when all is set and done, and the show comes to an end? Do stars benefit from reruns?

The cast of Seinfeld hugging with a white background / Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards in 1996 / The cast of Baywatch sitting at a behind the scenes tour / The cast of Full House reuniting on the red carpet
Photo by David Turnley, Corbis, VCG, Getty Images / William Holz, Fotos International, Getty Images / Ron Galella, Ltd, Ron Galella Collection, Getty Images / WireImage, Getty Images

The answer is – yes and no. Some actors continue to earn millions, decades after their show has ended. While others haven’t seen a dime in residuals. Let’s take a close look at who’s benefiting the most from fans who can’t get enough of their show and who’s mad at seeing themselves on screen because they earn nothing in return.

David Hasselhoff – Baywatch

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: May 14, 2001
Paycheck: $4 million per year

Shirtless David Hasselhoff, bombshell Pamela Anderson in a red swimsuit and… that pretty much sums up the show. Just kidding. But that being said, the good looking actors were probably the main reason more than a billion people tuned into this show (weekly!).

David Hasselhoff standing by a yellow truck with a softboard attached
Photo by Paul Harris / Getty Images

But nowadays, Baywatch isn’t on screen that often, and you will rarely find young Hasselhoff running around saving lives onshore. But that doesn’t mean he’s not making a respectable amount of money off the hit show. He’s making about $4 million a year from his lifeguarding days.

Betty White – The Golden Girls

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: May 9, 1992
Paycheck: Up to $3 million a year

In the mid-’80s, Betty White graced our screens as part of the cast of a group of humorous Golden Girls. Along with Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, the girls dove deep into womanhood, motherhood, and just life in general.

The cast of the Golden Girls posing for a portrait with two women sitting on a bench and two women standing in the back
Photo by Fotos International / Getty Images

It’s been almost three decades since the show’s last episode, but Betty is still benefiting from the fact that people admire the script’s wit and humor and want to watch it over and over again. Her golden days are far from over. She’s making $3 million a year! Well, she was until she tragically passed away a few days ago (on December 31st 2021).

Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

Last Episode: May 16, 2019
Paycheck: Up to $10 million a year

Jim Parsons played the effortlessly hilarious genius Sheldon Cooper, and he delivered his lines with such a serious face it was simply brilliant. He and the rest of the nerdy group from the Big Bang Theory became so huge they were making almost $1 million an episode in the final season.

Jim Parsons playing with cats while sitting in his spot on the brown leather couch of the set of The Big Bang Theory
Source: / Copyright: Warner Bros, CBS

But it took a while to get there. At first, he was making only $60,000, but by the fourth season, he sky-rocketed to $200,000 per episode. And from that point on, his salary climbed 50K every new season. The show is still running, and people are far from sick of Sheldon’s witty remarks. The actor makes an impressive $10 million a year.

David Schwimmer – Friends

Seasons: 10
Last Episode: May 6, 2004
Paycheck: Up to $20 million per year

Are people ever going to be sick of Friends? Probably not. Friends’ series finale reached 52.5 million viewers, making it the fifth most viewed finale in TV history. And no matter how much the world has changed (cellphones, fashion, slang), Friends still feels more relatable than ever.

David Schwimmer filming himself with an old video recorder in a scene from Friends
Photo by David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

As a result, its actors are cashing in impressive checks. And while the cast has gone on to other respectable roles, they’re still making enough money to not work at all. The one and only Ross is making $20 million a year!

Ed O’Neill – Married with Children

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: June 9, 1997
Paycheck: Up to $10 million a year

Today, Ed O’Neill is widely known for being closet fanatic Jay from Modern Family, but he’s still making good money from his previous days as Al Bundy. The show aired from the end of the ‘80s all through the ‘90s and became a household name across America.

Katey Segal standing by Ed O’Neill sitting at a dining room table
Source: / Copyright: Columbia Pictures

The jokes, the wit, and the “inappropriate” comments made the show all the more lovable. Reruns of this show are being aired all across the globe, and present-day grandpa Jay is reaping all the benefits.

Matt LeBlanc – Friends

Seasons: 10
Last Episode: May 6, 2004
Paycheck: Up to $20 million per year

Like his good friend Ross, Joey makes up to $20 million a year for being the same old funny, goofy and ridiculous character year after year. Rerun after rerun, Matt LeBlanc cashes in hefty checks. He received three Emmy award nominations for his work on the show and even got his own TV show, Joey.

Matt LeBlanc as Joey with Rachel and Fibi in the kitchen
Photo by David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

Sadly, the show never really took off because people weren’t into seeing him on his own. But even though his solo career was a flop, Joey the character is still making enough money not to work another day in his life.

Maureen McCormick – The Brady Bunch

Seasons: 5
Last Episode: March 8, 1974
Paycheck: $0

This is a bit surprising. The clean-cut Brady Bunch were always a pleasure to see on screen, so how is it that silky-haired Marcia Brady isn’t making a penny off reruns? The cast has tried to renegotiate, but there’s no budging from their no-residuals clause in their contract.

Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams at an event circa 1971
Photo by Darlene Hammond / Archive Photos / Getty Images

The cast will only make a small amount of money if clips from their show are used in a movie. That’s it. Reruns don’t mean a thing to the cast’s bank accounts. That being said, Maureen has made money off of spinoffs like The Brady Girls Get Married, The Brady Bunch Hour, The Brady Brides, and more. So we have a feeling she’s fine as it is.

Mark Harmon – NCIS

Seasons: 18
Last Episode: Still Running
Paycheck: Up to $60 million in total

The criminal investigative drama is still up and running, and with each new episode, Mark Harmon becomes $125,000 richer. He plays Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, a crime-solving Navy investigator who will stop at nothing until justice is served.

Mark Harmon as Special Agent Jethro Gibbs in a beige suit standing in a US government building
Source: / Copyright: CBS, ThinkFilm

The first episode aired in 2003 on CBS, and it has become the seventh-longest running primetime TV series in the US. In 2011, Americans voted NCIS as their #1 favorite show. And today, the eighteenth season was announced in May 2020, exciting fans all across the country.

Jerry Seinfeld – Seinfeld

Seasons: 9
Last Episode: May 14, 1998
Paycheck: Up to $110 million per year

According to E!, Seinfeld is the #1 reason the ‘90s ruled. Other strong contenders on the list – Ricky Martin, the Macarena, Starbucks, and Friends. But Seinfeld beat them all. Years later, and co-creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are still making insane amounts of money off it.

Jerry Seinfeld hugging Courteney Cox in an episode of Seinfeld
Source: Getty Images

They both make $110 million per year, each. It’s hard to imagine earning so much money from something you’re not actively doing anymore. The show’s popularity has made Jerry Seinfeld an unbelievably wealthy man, and today, it’s rumored he’s worth close to a billion dollars.

Dr. Phil – The Dr. Phil Show

Seasons: 17
Last Episode: Still Running
Paycheck: Up to $10 million in total

Psychologist Dr. Phil began his career as a human behavior expert on Oprah’s show. Little did he know how admired he would become among viewers, that he would end up having his very own talk show, in which he’s able to cover pretty much every human experience possible.

Dr Phil smiling in front of a screen with his television show logo on it
Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown / WireImage / Getty Images

From helpless addicts to a woman who believes she’s pregnant with Jesus, Dr. Phil never ceases to entertain his viewers. And that’s why his old episodes are still running, and he’s making an impressive $10 year from them.

Kristen Bell – The Good Place

Seasons: 4
Last Episode: September 26, 2019
Paycheck: $0

NBS owns all rights to the show, so The Good Place’s cast isn’t in that much of a good place when it comes to getting rich off reruns. The award-winning show ran for forty-three episodes, and it charmed its viewers with its “optimism regarding human nature.”

Kristen Bell sitting in front of a table with blue iced cocktails and a container of hot wings in front of her
Source: / Copyright: NBC

Sadly, there’s not much optimism left in the actors who aren’t seeing a penny from old episodes. In any case, Netflix or Hulu might take the show under their wing and release another season, but nothing is set in stone yet. All we can do is just wait and see…

Kelsey Grammar – Frasier

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: May 13, 2004
Paycheck: Up to $13 million a year

For 11 strong seasons, Kelsey Grammar played psychotherapist Frasier Crane and was reportedly making $1.6 million per episode. The show’s ratings climbed with each passing year, and its cancellation in 2004 saddened fans.

Kelsey Grammar sitting behind a microphone at a desk in a radio station
Photo by Gale Adler / Paramount / Getty Images

But not to worry! Fraiser’s revival is in the works, although a release date has not yet been set. But for the meantime, you can watch Frasier’s misadventures from the beginning, because reruns are still available, making Grammar all the richer.

Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men

Seasons: 12
Last Episode: February 19, 2015
Paycheck: Up to $20 million in total

A story about a hedonistic writer and his brother who’s the complete opposite, Two and a Half Men was an easygoing sitcom that always managed to get a good laugh out of its viewers. It’s one of those shows that if you happen to run into it while zipping through your TV, you’ll probably stick around to watch it.

Jon Cryer talking to Janelle Pierzina in the kitchen on the set of Two and A Half Men
Photo by Matthew Simmons / Getty Images

Even though the show’s ratings went downhill once Ashton Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen, fans never forgot how great the first seasons were. That’s why its main characters are still making good money from reruns. They’re earning a similar amount as the guys from Friends!

Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory

Seasons: 12
Last Episode: May 16, 2019
Paycheck: Up to $10 million per year

Like his co-star Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki makes up to $10 million a year from reruns of his time as experimental physicist, Leonard Hofstadter. He played a huge role in the hit show, being neighbor Penny’s love interest and adding some action to his and Sheldon’s geeky apartment.

Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki sitting on the brown leather couch in the living room on the set of the Big Bang Theory
Source: / Copyright: Warner Bros, CBS

The show wrapped up in 2019, but it’s still aired daily worldwide. Creators of the Big Bang, Chuck Lorre , and Bill Prady, must be super proud of themselves. Their show grossed billions for the networks, and its main cast topped the list of highest-paid actors on TV.

Alex Borstein – Family Guy

Seasons: 18
Last Episode: This will probably never end…
Paycheck: Up to $10 million per year

Lois Griffin’s voice is one of a kind and adds so much humor to the show. She doesn’t even have to say anything that funny. Her high pitch and somewhat congested voice is enough to keep you entertained regardless of what’s written in the script.

Alex Borstein holding a microphone on stage
Photo by Bruce Gilkas / FilmMagic / Getty Images

The show is still running, and Alex Borstein is reportedly getting $225,000 per episode (after a lot of negotiation). But she’s also making up to $10 million per year from reruns. Looks like Lois is living the good life…

Bob Saget – Full House

Seasons: 8
Last Episode: May 23, 1995
Paycheck: Up to $2,000 per year

$2,000 per year doesn’t sound like much compared to other actors, but Bob Saget is actually making the most out of the Full House cast. He played widowed father Danny Tanner, one of the main characters on the show.

Bob Saget on the set of Full House
Source: / ABC, Warner Bros

But Saget wasn’t afraid to speak up about his earnings and claimed that with residuals, you get “nothing.” On the other hand, the producer of the show, Jeff Franklin, makes way more money from reruns. Full House will forever be the “dysfunctional family that kept it G-rated.”

Nancy Cartwright – The Simpsons

Seasons: 31
Last Episode: We’ll never get sick of The Simpsons
Paycheck: Up to $20 million per year

The Simpsons is the longest-running animated comedy in television history, and for now, it doesn’t look like its going to end anytime soon. Thirty-one seasons later, and The Simpsons is still releasing episodes. Hilarious Bart Simpson is voiced by Nancy Cartwright, who’s making an impressive amount from reruns and current episodes.

Nancy Cartwright standing in between a man wearing a Bart Simpson costume and a sculptured Bart Simpson head
Photo by Alison Buck / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Cartwright makes up to $20 million per year in reruns, and she earns $400,000 for each new episode. She’s incredibly talented and voices a few characters at once! Just watch her videos on YouTube. They’ll surely blow your mind.

Sarah Michelle Gellar – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: May 20, 2003
Paycheck: Up to $1 million in total

Sarah Michelle Gellar played brave Buffy Summers. Gellar fought vampires and demons for seven seasons in the ‘90s as well as early ‘000s. The show had a total of 144 episodes, and they’re still aired on UPN.

Sarah Michelle Gellar standing at the gate of a house with a large garden wearing all black
Source: Getty Images

Its final episode aired in 2003, and since then, Gellar has made millions off of bloodthirsty fans who can’t seem to get enough of this supernatural drama. Buffy is hands down a leader anyone can look up to!

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Seinfeld

Seasons: 9
Last Episode: May 14, 1998
Paycheck: $250/episode

Julia Louis-Dreyfus played Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld’s best friend and ex-girlfriend. Apart from her role on the sitcom, Julia is a comedian, singer, and producer who worked on shows like SNL, Veep, and more. She’s making enough money from her exciting new projects, but it’s a shame she’s earning that little from the infinite reruns of the show.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitting on the edge of her bed surrounded by crew on the set of Seinfeld
Photo by David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

It’s been two decades since the show ended, but Julia is still being asked in interviews about her time on set with the Seinfeld crew. On Katie Couric’s talk show, she admitted it was a truly joyous time in her life, and watching reruns always puts a huge smile on her face.

Edie Falco – The Sopranos

Seasons: 6
Last Episode: June 10, 2007
Paycheck: Up to $26 million in total

One of the most well-known crime dramas in TV history, The Sopranos ran from ’99 until 2007, and its talented cast won numerous awards for outstanding and best performances. Edie Falco, who played Carmela, Tony Soprano’s wife, snatched three Emmys for her brilliant acting.

A scene from The Sopranos with Tony Soprano and Carmela Soprano sitting in chairs while seeking counseling
Photo by HBO / Getty Images

The show ended in 2007, but Edie is still making an incredibly satisfying salary off reruns. Her time filming for HBO in New Jersey definitely paid off, and her dedication to the role of Carmela is appreciated to this day.

George Clooney – ER

Seasons: 15
Last Episode: April 2, 2009
Paycheck: Up to $13 million per year

George Clooney has a net worth of around $500,000 million, making him one of the world’s richest movie actors. And adding to his hefty bank account is his time spent onset of the medical drama ER. Created by author Michael Crichton, ER ran from 1994 to 2009, with a total of 331 episodes.

George Clooney in scrubs looking serious in a scene from ER
Source: Getty Images

Clooney was part of the crew for five seasons as Dr. Doug Ross. And when you’re as attractive as George, you’ll obviously be the heartthrob of the hospital. There’s no doubt his charming looks added to the show’s popularity.

Drake – Degrassi

Seasons: 14
Last Episode: August 2, 2015
Paycheck: $8.25 per month

Drake is one of the richest celebrities out there, so his money from reruns of Degrassi probably go unnoticed. We doubt he even knows he’s getting paid for them. We doubt he even remembers his time on TV as basketball star, Jimmy Brooks.

Some of the cast of Degrassi posing with Drake next to lockers in a high school hallway
Source: / Copyright: Epitome Pictures

Degrassi aired from 2001 until 2008, and sweet little Drake starred in 145 episodes. After the show, he left television to pursue an incredibly successful career in music. Today he’s worth at least $150 million.

Chad Michael Murray – One Tree Hill

Seasons: 9
Last Episode: April 4, 2012
Paycheck: Up to $100,000 a year

Chad Michael Murray was everyone’s crush in the early 2000s. He played heartthrob Lucas Scott on the drama One Tree Hill, first appearing on our screens on September 23, 2003. We loved watching him with Peyton, with Brooke, it really didn’t matter. As long he was on TV.

Chad Michael Murray posing leaning on a wooden cabin
Source: / CW Television Network, The WB Television Network

His last run as Lucas was in 2012. Murray hasn’t acted for a while, so his money from reruns is surely beneficial to him. Chad mentioned in an interview that his love for the character is still very much alive, and he is extremely grateful for the time on the set of One Tree Hill.

Shay Mitchell – Pretty Little Liars

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: June 27, 2017
Paycheck: $0

Based on Sara Sheppard’s novel, Pretty Little Liars was a drama about a couple of high school students navigating their way through life. But this wasn’t your ordinary teenage drama. It was a lot more complicated and intriguing than that.

Shay Mitchell in a pink dress posing in a white wintery prom setting
Source: / Copyright: ABC Family, WB

Shay Mitchell played Emily Fields, who, along with three other girls, was under constant threat of being exposed by an anonymous person, “A.” The show ended in 2017, and reruns are still aired worldwide. But Mitchell doesn’t have rights to the show, and her contract clearly stated she wouldn’t be getting any money off it once it ends.

Paul Fusco – Alf

Seasons: 4
Last Episode: March 24, 1990
Paycheck: $300 per episode

Paul Fusco was the voice and the brains behind Alf – Alien Life Form. The sitcom was about a creature who landed on earth and was adopted by a suburban family. The weird-looking puppet charmed viewers across the country and accumulated an impressive fanbase in its four-season run.

Paul Fusco posing next to the puppet Alf
Source: Pinterest

But it wasn’t going as great as expected, and NBC eventually canceled it due to low ratings. The network’s president Brandon Tartikoff later admitted that he should have given Alf another chance. The extra-terrestrial being had a lot more to offer the world!

Michael J. Fox – Family Ties

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: May 14, 1989
Paycheck: $0

A young and adorable Michael J. Fox starred as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. He played the intelligent and ambitious older brother whose biggest aspiration is to become successful and wealthy. But getting the role wasn’t easy. Fox admitted he was almost fired for not being handsome enough for fan merchandise.

Michael J Fox posing with a cat during a photoshoot for Family Ties
Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

At first, Michael earned well on the show, but once ratings declined, he said he had to hitchhike to get to the set. The show was canceled due to low ratings, and because NBC owned all rights, its cast never saw a penny from residuals.

Henry Winkler – Happy Days

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: September 24, 1984
Paycheck: $65,000 in total

After eleven seasons and 255-episode, Happy days was over. The days after the show ended weren’t as happy as the ones on set. Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, sued ABC for residual payments. It took years to settle the lawsuit, but it was well worth the wait.

Marion Ross and Henry Winkler hugging behind a piano in a scene from happy days
Photo by Fotos International / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The verdict was a $65,000 payment to Winkler and his co-stars (in addition to residuals from DVD sales). ABC continues to air reruns here and there, but that doesn’t bother the cast. $65,000 isn’t too bad for his time as The Fonz.

Trey Parker – South Park

Seasons: 23
Last Episode: Miraculously, still up and running
Paycheck: Up to $500 million in total

Southpark creators have made around $500 million from their animated show. It all started when a few college roommates started cracking jokes and throwing ideas in the air. We bet they never imagined it to reach this level of stardom.

Trey Parker with his wife Ema in front of a poster for South Park
Photo by Albert L Ortega / WireImage / Getty Images

Fans of the show want it to go on for life. The adventures of delinquents Cartman, Kyle, and Stan are still funny and stupid as they were when the show just began. Old seasons are still rerunning, and new seasons are yet to come.

Claire Foy – The Crown

Seasons: 4
Last Episode: N\A
Show Residuals: $0

The Crown is a Netflix series, which is great news for its viewers who can binge watch the show all at once. But bad news for the actors, who aren’t making money off people streaming old episodes. Claire Foy, who plays the young Queen Elizabeth II, reportedly makes $40,000 per episode, but $0 per reruns.

Claire Foy in a wedding dress walking towards the hall
Source: / Copyright: Netflix

The show is growing in popularity like crazy, and the fifth season is set to air in 2022. If Netflix didn’t own the show, the actors would have probably made a lot more money in their career as English Royalty.

Desi Arnaz – I Love Lucy

Seasons: 6
Last Episode: May 6, 1957
Paycheck: Up to $7.5 million per year to estate

Desi Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo, Lucille’s famous husband, on the American sitcom I Love Lucy. He and Lucille Ball were lovers both on-screen and off but eventually split in 1960. Their divorce was ugly, but they continued making money off their dysfunctional relationship on TV.

Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball at a dinner table with their Emmy Award
Photo by FPG / Getty Images

In addition to I Love Lucy, Desi produced other sitcoms, including The Ann Sothern Show and Those Whiting Girls. He also starred in shows like The Untouchables and Whirlybirds.

Lea Michele – Glee

Seasons: 6
Last Episode: March 20, 2015
Show Residuals: $0

Singer and actress Lea Michele rose to stardom after her role as Rachel on Glee. Somewhat witty, a little bit annoying, at times stuck-up, Rachel was a character you loved and hated all the same. She was the star singer of the show, and writer Ryan Murphy had Lea in mind when he created the character.

Lea Michele walking around a conference room in a grey dress
Source: / Copyright: Fox Broadcasting Company

The six-season show ran from 2009 to 2015, and it became incredibly popular. You didn’t have to like musicals or teenage dramas to enjoy this show. The characters were so colorful and diverse, and it was easy to fall in love with each one of them. At one point, Lea Michele was making $1 million per episode! But because Fox owned all rights to the series, she hasn’t seen a penny from reruns.

Sofia Vergara – Modern Family

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: April 8, 2020
Paycheck: $500,000/year

Modern Family was innovative, incredibly witty, and humorous. The Emmy-winning show earned $2.13 million an episode (after cast payments etc…)! Its actors, including the one and only Sofia Vergara, are racking in a lot of cash from residuals.

Sofia Vergara greeting Benjamin Bratt at her front door in the show Modern Family
Source: / Copyright: ABC

Fans worldwide were saddened by the news of having to depart from their favorite family. But luckily, ABC president Karey Burke has discussed the possibility of a spinoff. We’re crossing our fingers it will happen sometime soon!

Jason Alexander – Seinfeld

Seasons: 9
Final Episode Airdate: May 14, 1998
Show Residuals: $250/episode

Jason Alexander doesn’t make as much as his co-stars, but still reaps the benefits from his days as George Costanza. Still, $250 is practically nothing compared to what Jarry and Larry are making. It’s pretty surprising considering that Seinfeld was one of the most popular shows to ever air on TV.

Jason Alexander sitting at a poker table
Photo by Fairfax Media / Getty Images

Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer said that the show made a whopping $2.7 billion in 2010. The successful show is still loved and watched to this day. So only $250 per episode? That doesn’t make sense.

Carmen Electra – Baywatch

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: May 14, 2001
Paycheck: $4 million in total

Carmen Electra made $4 million out of a show that almost didn’t make it. It was canceled after the first season but was brought back to life and became one of the world’s most watched shows. With Carmen as the main actress, we can easily understand why.

Carmen Electra holding a floating device
Source: Getty Images

Electra confessed, “When I joined the cast of Baywatch, my life changed overnight!” She was excited and nervous about joining the show but “really grateful to be part of a show that I also believe is a cult classic.”

Hugh Laurie – House

Seasons: 8
Last Episode: May 21, 2012
Paycheck: $1 million\year

Hugh Laurie starred as the good-hearted doctor on House. The medical genius had his fair share of issues that made it hard to work with him (like his dependence on pain medication), but he was still loved by the hospital staff and by the show’s viewers.

Hugh Laurie holding a Golden Globe Awards for his role in House
Photo by SGranitz / WireImage / Getty Images

In 2008, House was the most-watched show in the world (aired in 66 countries)! With around 81 million viewers worldwide. Today, Laurie is earning around 1 million a year from reruns. He’s undoubtedly one of the wealthiest doctors out there.

Ellen Pompeo – Grey’s Anatomy

Seasons: 17
Last Episode: April 9, 2020
Paycheck: $20 million/year

One of the most successful medical dramas in TV history, Grey’s Anatomy ran for seventeen seasons. Ellen Pompeo, who played beautiful and caring Meredith Grey, was one of the highest paid stars on the series, making $575,000 per episode.

Ellen Pompeo on the red carpet
Photo by Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Today, she makes a staggering $20 million per year from die-hard Grey Anatomy fans who want to watch it repeatedly. Even though ratings have declined with the years, it’s still one of the highest-rated TV shows around.

Zooey Deschanel – New Girl

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: May 15, 2018
Paycheck: $750,000

Zooey Deschanel played the quirky and whimsical newcomer Jess. With her big blue eyes and festive clothes, Zooey played the part perfectly. At its peak, the show had more than 10 million viewers. And it was saved from cancellation in 2017 after loyal fans demanded more episodes.

Zooey Deschanel on the phone in the hallway of a house in a scene from New Girl
Photo by FOX Image Collection / Getty Images

The series finally came to an end in 2018. Zooey admitted, “The show has been kind of like the center of my life for so long, so it’s really important for me, personally as well as professionally.” But she’s glad to let it go, and eager to move on to new projects.

Steve Carell – The Office

Seasons: 9
Last Episode: May 16, 2013
Paycheck: $250/episode

Based on the British comedy by the same name, The Office was an inside look at Office workers’ humorous lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It became one of the funniest shows on air and raked in millions of viewers each episode.

Steve Carell sitting on a bench outside of the office on the set of The Office
Photo by J Emilio Flores / Corbis / Getty Images

Despite its success, Steve Carell, who played the main character Michael Scott, isn’t making that much from reruns. Only the standard $250 an episode. It’s true that he left before the show ended, but still, he was present at the office when it was at its peak! We believe he deserves a lot more.

Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad

Seasons: 5
Last Episode: September 29, 2013
Paycheck: $1.2 million/year

Critics have crowned this show as one of the greatest dramas in modern history. No wonder main actor Bryan Cranston is making more than a million from residuals alone. He played Walter White, the quiet chemistry teacher who began to cook up drugs in his basement.

Bryan Cranston holding two Emmy Awards while wearing a tux on the red carpet
Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Breaking Bad has gathered such a cult following that it’s surprising it’s only five seasons long. But in a sweet, short time, it has managed to entice its viewers to the point where they demanded more and more of it.

Kat Dennings – 2 Broke Girls

Seasons: 6
Last Episode: April 17, 2017
Paycheck: $1.7 million/year

This might come as a surprise, but 2 Broke Girls’ first episode had the highest ratings a Fox comedy has ever seen. And while this show isn’t as talked about as other shows, its main actress, Kat Dennings, is making a lot from her time as Max Black.

Kat Dennings of Two Broke Girls on the red carpet in a black dress
Photo by David Livingston / Getty Images

The show was about two women in their mid-20s, waitressing their hearts out to pay the rent. I guess a lot of the viewers found that storyline relatable. But not everyone enjoyed the cash-strapped girl’s adventures. A lot of critics called the show predictable and terribly unfunny.

Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: January 31, 2013
Paycheck: $10,000

This award-winning sitcom was created by the talented and witty Tina Fey. It was based on Tina’s role on SNL as a writer, with Alec Baldwin starring as her boss. 30 Rock was well received by critics but was canceled after seven seasons because ratings started to slow down.

Alex Baldwin holding a Golden Globe Award on the red carpet for his performance in 30 Rock
Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Baldwin and other actors on the show offered to cut down from their paychecks to keep the series alive. He confessed, “I offered NBC to cut my pay 20 percent in order to have a full 7th and 8th seasons of 30 Rock. I realize times have changed.”

Ty Burell – Modern Family

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: April 8, 2020
Paycheck: $500,000-$1 million/year

Ty Burell played one of the funniest characters to have ever graced our screens – realtor and cool dad Phil Dunphy. Burell began by making around $30,000 per episode, but by the end, he was making between $150,000 to $200,000.

Ty Burrell on the red carpet
Photo by Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

Sadly, the show has ended. But Burell’s paycheck is still incredibly rewarding. He’s making almost $1 million a year from the show. We have a feeling the money’s just going to keep on rolling into this actor’s bank account because Modern Family is timeless.

Susan Dey – The Partridge Family

Seasons: 4
Last Episode: March 23, 1974
Paycheck: $0

Susan Dey entered the public’s eye as a fresh-faced model with mesmerizing turquoise eyes and turned into an award-winning actress after she took on the role of Laurie Partridge in the ‘70s sitcom, The Partridge Family.

David Cassidy and Susan Dey at an ABC party in 1970
Photo by Frank Edwards / Fotos International / Getty Images

On set with the Partridge family, Dey began to develop feelings for her co-star David Cassidy. When the show ended, they gave their feelings a shot and had a one-night stand, which David later admitted he regretted. We wonder why things didn’t work out…

Mila Kunis – Family Guy

Seasons: 19
Last Episode: Ongoing
Paycheck: Up to $2 million per year

Another animated show that will probably exist as long as the voice actors are alive, Family Guy has entered viewers’ hearts worldwide with its silly and rude humor. The main actors make around $100,000 per episode. Add that to the money they make off reruns, and you got yourself a pretty impressive paycheck.

Mila Kunis playing the piano
Photo by Brian Ach / WireImage / Getty Images

Mila Kunis has been voicing Meg Griffin since season two. Before that, Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert played the role. Creator Seth MacFarlane said that “Chabert did a phenomenal job, but Kunis was “more right for the character.”

David Hyde Pierce – Frasier

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: September 16, 1993
Paycheck: $40 million in total

Frasier was called the “smartest show on television” after it first aired in 1993. David Hyde Pierce Christopher starred as psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane and received four Emmy Awards for his supporting actor role.

David Hyde Pierce on the red carpet
Photo by Gregg DeGuire / WireImage / Getty Images

Pierce was making around $750,000 per episode at the time and continues to make an insane amount of money off reruns. The series ended in 2004, and since then, the show’s residuals has racked up $40 million in total so far.

Rashida Jones – Parks and Recreation

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: February 24, 2015
Paycheck: Up to $200,000 per episode

For six seasons, Rashida Jones played kind-hearted Ann Perkins, Leslie Knope’s best friend. Apart from acting on the show, Rashida was also one of the executive producers. So you can be sure she’s making good money off reruns.

Rashida Jones smirking with her arms crossed
Photo by Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Today, she’s worth around $25 million. But Parks and Recreation isn’t the only project that made her rich. The multi-talent star has also sung backup vocals for Maroon 5 and produced an award-winning documentary about her father, musician Quincy Jones.

Lori Loughlin – Full House

Seasons: 8
Last Episode: May 23, 1995
Paycheck: Up to $100,000 a year

More than two decades later, Full House continues to make massive amounts of money off reruns. This is incredible news for main stars like Lori Loughlin, whose bank account keeps getting fatter as time goes on. Full House turned Lori Loughlin into a megastar overnight, and she’s forever grateful of that.

A promotional photograph of Lori Loughlin for Full House
Source: / Copyright: ABC, WB

As of today, Lori’s personal life isn’t looking that great. She’s had to serve two months in prison due to some…uncomfortable events. But hey, at least she kept making money behind bars, right?

David Caruso – CSI Miami

Seasons: 10
Last Episode: April 8, 2012
Paycheck: Up to $100,000 per year

David Caruso played Detective Horatio Cain, one of the main characters on the crime show CSI: Miami. Lucky for David and the rest of the cast, people can’t seem to get enough of true crime shows, so the series has a ton of spinoffs and reruns are still airing worldwide.

David Caruso on the red carpet
Photo by Alexandra Wyman / WireImage / Getty Images

CSI generated over $6 billion in total! And the show’s creator, Anthony Zuiker, is worth around $150 million as the executive producer. It’s safe to say that Caruso can retire in peace. His passive income is above and beyond.

Ray Romano – Everybody Loves Raymond

Seasons: 9
Last Episode: May 16, 2005
Paycheck: Up to $18 million a year

Ray Romano first gained widespread recognition as the star of the CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond. The sitcom ran for nine seasons before ending in 2005, saddening the die-hard fans who would’ve loved to keep watching the adventures of Raymond Baron.

Ray Romano holding an Emmy Award on the red carpet
Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard / WireImage / Getty Images

Romano is considered one of the wealthiest Emmy award-winning actors of all time due to his continued royalty checks. He earns approximately $18 million a year from show residuals alone! No wonder he has appeared on Forbes celebrity rich list.

Ted Danson – Cheers

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: May 20, 1993
Paycheck: Up to $5 million a year

Ted Danson played lead character Sam Malone on Cheers. Starring as the bartender and owner of the fictional Boston bar was an incredible opportunity for Danson. It was one of the biggest shows on TV at the time, and Danson is still getting paid for his role!

Ted Danson holding a soda tap behind a bar
Photo by Aaron Rapoport / Corbis / Getty Images

He has starred in several other projects, including parts in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death, and The Good Place. But his time in the ‘80s as Sam Malone is enough for him to retire this instant. $5 million a year from reruns only? Working at a bar has never been more rewarding!

Alan Alda – M*A*S*H

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: February 28, 1983
Paycheck: Up to $1 million a year

It didn’t take long for M*A*S*H to become a hit! In the beginning, Alan Alda made around $10,000 per episode for his portrayal of Hawkeye. But by the end of the series, he made a whopping $235,000. Thanks to his time on the ‘70s comedy, Alan remains a very wealthy man.

Alan Alda in M*A*S*H holding a deck of cards
Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

He’s making up to $1 million a year from reruns and has made a significant amount of money from the many spinoffs (AfterMASH, and Trapper John, M.D.) and specials in which he’s featured. Documentaries and movies took place throughout the eighties as well.

Sam Waterson – Law & Order

Seasons: 20
Last Episode: May 24, 2010
Paycheck: Up to $5,000 per year

Sam Waterston’s performance in Law & Order was incredible and rightfully earned him a Golden Globe. Since the show ended, the actor has moved on to sitcoms like Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, but his time as a dramatic actor is still earning him good money.

Sam Waterson on the red carpet
Photo by Mike Gardner / Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

He makes a decent amount of cash from Law & Order reruns, and spinoffs like Law & Order: SVU. Viewers worldwide appreciate the show because of the amazing cast, and his iconic role as Jack McCoy will be forever appreciated!

Tom Ellis – Lucifer

Seasons: 5
Last Episode: TBD
Paycheck: Unknown

Lucifer ran for three seasons on Fox, until the network canceled it. But lo and behold! A month later, Netflix picked up the show for season number four. Tom Ellis plays Lucifer Morningstar on the supernatural drama and makes a whopping $50,000 each episode.

Tom Ellis playing doctor with Scarlett Estevez in a scene from Lucifer
Photo by FOX Image Collection / Getty Images

We assume that when all is set and done, Tom Ellis will make a hefty amount from reruns. People love this series. It keeps the viewers on edge and never ceases to surprise and excite them!

Carol Burnett – The Carol Burnett Show

Seasons: 11
Last Episode: March 29, 1978
Paycheck: $0.01 per DVD sold

Comedian Carol Burnett became famous for her groundbreaking show The Carol Burnett Show. It was truly refreshing and was one of the first shows of its kind to feature a female comedian. Despite its success, Burnett never made much money from its legacy.

Carol Burnett adjusting George Gobel’s tie
Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

She sadly confessed she made just one penny for every DVD of her show that was sold. And even less for episodes that aired! That’s no way to treat one of the most innovative comedians in history.

Tim Allen – Home Improvement

Seasons: 8
Last Episode: May 25, 1999
Paycheck: Up to $18 million in total

Tim Allen, also known as “The Toolman,” was the host of his own home improvement show. His series was produced by Walt Disney Studios and aired it’s first episode in 1991. After a few years and 204 episodes later, Tim Allen concluded his series.

Tim Allen standing by a Christmas Tree at his garage
Source: / Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

The show meant a lot to Tim, who stated numerous times that he was “very interested” in a potential Home Improvement reunion. He also mentioned he’s still making good money from the show, and ever since it ended, has already made around $18 million.

Jonny Lee Miller – Elementary

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: August 15, 2019
Paycheck: $1,000 per year

Elementary aired on CBS and was filmed in New York City from 2012 until 2019. Lead actor Jonny Lee Miller played a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and made around $130,000 each episode. The drama’s executive producer was Robert Doherty, who’s responsible for other great shows like Medium and Point Pleasant.

Jonny Lee Miller behind a large black metal gate while filming a scene from Elementary
Photo by MWE / GC Images / Getty Images

The show’s cancellation disappointed fans, but Miller’s contract was ending, and the whole crew took that as a sign they should conclude the show. In any case, seven seasons is an impressive run! They should be proud of themselves.

Patrick Stewart – Star Trek: The Next Generation

Seasons: 7
Last Episode: May 23, 1994
Paycheck: $0

Patrick Stewart recently stated in an interview that his time as Jean Luc Picard on the show Star Trek: The Next Generation had not benefitted him when it came to residuals. He put his heart and soul into the conventions, merchandise, and franchise yet got nothing in return once it went off the air.

Patrick Stewart on set while filming Star Trek: The Next Generation
Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

When the show was still on, he received hundreds of thousands per episode, and his salary for the movies was even higher (up to $13 million for one movie!). But it’s too bad that once the curtains dropped, so did his paycheck.

Tracey Ullman – The Tracey Ullman Show

Seasons: 4
Last Episode: May 26, 1996
Paycheck: Up to $5,000 per year

Tracey Ullman first graced our screens in 1987 until her show went off the air in 1990. Each episode opened with the theme song, You’re Thinking Right, written by George Clinton. The star stated she still makes around $5,000 from reruns of her show on Fox.

Tracy Ullman visiting MTV Studios
Photo by Gary Gershoff / Getty Images

The multi-talent has also voiced characters in The Simpsons, but contrary to her residuals from her show, Tracey had to engage in a lengthy contract battle with Simpsons producers until she was able to see any money from the animated comedy.

Lisa Kudrow – Friends

Seasons: 10
Last Episode: May 6, 2004
Paycheck: Up to $20 million per year

Lisa Kudrow played fun, clumsy, and talented Phoebe on Friends. Like her co-stars, Kudrow makes a whopping $20 million a year from reruns. The show itself brings in $1 billion in residuals! Each star receives 2% of that annual income, so it’s safe to say they can pretty much retire at this very instant.

Lisa Kudrow holding her guitar in the kitchen of Joey’s apartment
Photo by David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

Kudrow recently spoke to co-star and good friend, Jennifer Aniston. She told her she doesn’t watch reruns of Friends because she “hopes that one day we will all sit down and watch them together.”