The new highest-paid actor on TV is the guy replacing the former highest-paid actor on TV.
Ashton Kutcher will earn $700,000 per episode on “Two and a Half Men” this season, which instantly puts him at the top of the salary list for TV actors, TV Guide reports. Still, the show is saving a half-million dollars per episode this year; last season Charlie Sheen made about $1.2 million per episode.
CBS will also save some money on its “CSI” lead this season. Ted Danson will make $225,000 per episode as the new leader of the Las Vegas CSI team. The man he’s replacing, Laurence Fishburne, earned $350,000 per episode in 2010-11.
Most of the leads of new series hitting the air this fall on the big four networks will make in the neighborhood of $125,000 per episode. There are a few exceptions, though, for established stars returning to TV. Tim Allen (ABC’s comedy “Last Man Standing”) and Kiefer Sutherland (FOX’s midseason drama “Touch”) are each set to make about $225,000 per episode.
Whether those stars give a good return on the money studios and networks are investing in them remains to be seen. The 2011-12 season begins in earnest on Sept. 19.