According to Variety’s list of highest-paid TV stars of 2016, the television star with the most dollars stuffed into their pockets is the honorable Judge Judith Sheindlin. Sometimes Hollywood gets things right, and in this case, it’s rewarding the brightest most-dazzling star on television with the biggest pile of money.
Judge Judy earns an estimated $47 million a year for Judge Judy, which is currently in its 21st season. Judge Judy makes so much money because Judge Judy makes so much money. Variety says that the show brings in between $160 and $170 million a year in revenue and is the most-watched national program in daytime TV with an average of about 10.3 million viewers a week.
Judge Judy’s bailiff sidekick Petri Hawkins-Byrd also makes a lot of money, just not anywhere near as much as JJ. Byrd takes home more than $1 million a year.
Variety divides up the list of highest-paid hos of 2016 into three categories: Comedy, Drama, and Reality TV/Host/News. Judge Judy should be filed into both the Comedy and Drama list, since nobody fills a half-hour with more LOLs and courtroom dramatics than Judge Judy. But it doesn’t matter where she is, she’s still making the most money. You can read them all over at Variety, but here are the top 5 of each category.
COMEDY (salary per episode)
Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, TBBT – $1,000,000
Dwayne Johnson, Ballers – $400,000
Drew Barrymore, Santa Clarita Diet – $350,000
Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Maniac – $350,000
Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, The Simpsons – $315,000
DRAMA (salary per episode)
Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Gilmore Girls – $750,000
Mark Harmon, NCIS – $525,000
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards – $500,000
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones – $500,000
Claire Danes, Homeland – $450,000
REALITY/HOST/NEWS (salary per year)
Judge Judy – $47 million
Matt Lauer – $22-$25 million
Ellen DeGeneres – $20 million
Bill O’Reilly – $18-$20 million
Kelly Ripa – $16-$20 million
The cast of The Big Bang Theory still makes an insane amount of money. If Judge Judy, who films about 260 shows a year, was making Jim Parsons money, Judge Judy’s take home would be $260,000,000. Judge Judy is getting ripped off. She should be making $1 million per episode. Judge Judy deserves every penny of those millions, if only for the fact that she provides a very valuable service. Without Judge Judy, the small claims court system would be backed up into 2039 with baloney. Judge Judy definitely deserves Jim Parsons money for dealing with our nation’s petty shit.