The Highest Paid Actors On Television Include So Many CBS Stars

The Big Bang Theory Leonard Johnny Galecki CBS
(Image credit: CBS)

It is that time of year again! The list of television's highest-paid actors has been revealed. In a move that will probably surprise few, familiar names from television's most popular shows populate the list, with CBS stars leading the way. Without further ado, let's dig into who made the Top 10:

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - $26.5 millionJohnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) - $25 millionKunal Nayyar (tie) (The Big Bang Theory) - $23.5 millionSimon Helberg (tie) (The Big Bang Theory) - $23.5 millionMark Harmon (NCIS) - $19 millionEd O'Neill (Modern Family) - $14 millionEric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - $13.5 millionJesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) - $13 millionTy Burrell (Modern Family) - $12 millionAndrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) - $11 million

CBS stars alone account for 50% of the list. When it comes to the top ten actors, the five top spots are populated by actors from two CBS shows, per Forbes. Those two shows are NCIS and The Big Bang Theory. The latter series easily dominates the list.

Jim Parsons tops co-star Johnny Galecki's Big Bang Theory paycheck by $1.5 million. The pay gap between The Big Bang Theory's highest-paid star and NCIS lead Mark Harmon is substantial. As in $7.5 million substantial. The difference in pay between Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar's Big Bang Theory paycheck and Harmon's is $4.5 million.

Also worth noting is that Mark Harmon is one of only two actors on the list to star in a drama, with The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln being the other. Everyone else stars in a comedy. Given the shake-ups around the corner, this list is destined for a significant shakeup of its own.

Ahead of its twelfth season premiere, The Big Bang Theory announced it would also be its last. So, the cast of the hugely popular sitcom will not be featured on the list much longer. Likewise, Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead. Their impending exits will open up five slots on the list.

So, Mark Harmon should theoretically rocket to the top spot. Modern Family is currently in the midst of its tenth season. While there has been chatter of it being the series' last, its future currently remains unclear. The stars of the comedy could stick around after their rivals leave.

Four members from the cast of the ABC comedy Modern Family are on the list. That puts the show populating nearly 50% of the list. It is also the only ABC series with stars that made the cut. If and when Modern Family ends up joining The Big Bang Theory in ending, the list will shift even more.

While network television has been hit with ever-evolving changes, one thing has not changed. Network television is still the highest-paying. No star of a streaming series appears on the list, and only one actor from a cable series makes an appearance.

What is also interesting is that comedies totally dominate television's list of highest-paid actors. So, while dramas such as The Walking Dead tend to dominate watercooler talk, television's paychecks tell another story.

With so many actors on the list preparing to say goodbye, it will be interesting to see who takes their place. Many of the stars appearing in this year's list star in television's fall premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.