Oprah Winfrey, Simon Cowell and William Petersen Oprah Winfrey, Simon Cowell and William Petersen

You can make a nice living in TV. Just ask Simon Cowell, who pulls in $45 million per year (for American Idol and other TV projects). Even the folks who serve chow to the cast and crew can make $3,000 over the eight days it takes to shoot an hourlong drama.

Here's a sample of who makes what, from Oprah to a production assistant just breaking into the biz.

NETWORK PRIME TIME (salary per episode)
William Petersen, CSI                                               $500,000
Zach Braff, Scrubs                                                      $350,000
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU                       $350,000
Chris Meloni, Law & Order: SVU                              $350,000
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men                        $350,000
Hugh Laurie, House                                                   $300,000
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy                          $225,000
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Old Christine                           $225,000
Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives                    $200,000
Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy                               $200,000
Jeff Foxworthy, Are You Smarter…                          $150,000
T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy                                     $125,000
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy                            $125,000
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters                                    $100,000
Special guest stars per hour episode minimum        $6,527
Stand-ins per day minimum                                              $145
Background actors w/ special abilities per day             $140
Background actors or "extras" per day                            $130

NEWS ANCHORS (salary per year)
Katie Couric, CBS Evening News                           $15 million
Matt Lauer, NBC Today coanchor                            $12 million
Diane Sawyer                                                              $12 million
Meredith Vieira, NBC Today coanchor                    $10 million
Brian Williams                                                               $8 million
Anderson Cooper                                                         $5 million
Keith Olbermann, MSNBC anchor                             $4 million
Harry Smith, CBS The Early Show coanchor           $3 million
Ernie Anastos, New York City local news anchor   $2 million
Lesley Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent       $1.8 million
Sr producer for network newsmagazine  $250,000-$400,000
Average local TV news anchor                                        $75,500
Broadcast news associate entry level                          $30,000

CABLE (salary per episode)
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer                                            $250,000
Julian McMahon, Nip/Tuck                                             $125,000
Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck                                                    $125,000
Joely Richardson, Nip/Tuck                                              $90,000
James Roday, Psych                                                          $60,000

Oprah Winfrey, per year                                               $260 million*
Judge Judy, per year                                                      $30 million
Bob Barker, per year                                                        $7 million
Ellen DeGeneres, per year                                             $5 million
Jerry Springer, per year                                                $3-4 million
Tyra Banks, per year                                                      $3.5 million
Star performer, daytime drama, per episode       $7,500-$9,000
Writer, daily children's show, per week                               $5,631
Freelance director, daytime drama, per program             $3,726
Writer, daytime drama, per script                                         $3,087
Question writer, quiz show, per week                                 $1,324

* Includes what Winfrey earns from Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil and other programs

Director, per hr episode min.                                               $35,927
Writer, for story and script, per hr episode                         $30,823
Staff writer, per wk minimum                                                  $2,890
Executive story editor, per episode average                        $8,500
Crafts services (provides food to cast and crew), per hr   $25.40
Film editor, per wk min.                                                            $2,575
Sound editor, per wk min.                                                  $1,887.94
Music editor, per wk min.                                                    $1,887.94
Head makeup artist, per wk                                                     $2,271
Head hairstylist, per wk                                                            $1,804
Costume designer, per wk min.                                        $2,009.65
Scenic artist, per wk min.                                                         $1,840
Microphone boom operator, per day                                   $309.78
Production assistant, per hr                                                            $8

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