By all means, television presenters have demanding jobs. From the lengthy working hours to the risk of something going wrong live on-air, helming a show isn’t always easy. But for all the hard work they put in, hosts are rewarded with fame, household adoration and a juicy paycheck. Furthermore, these beloved stars of daytime and late-night TV have some of the fattest salaries of them all.
40. Montel Williams – $10 million
Once a successful motivational speaker, Montel Williams put his skills to good use in the world of daytime TV. For 17 years from 1991, the presenter earned millions from The Montel Williams Show as well as an Emmy in 1996. The star is reportedly worth $10 million and now campaigns on behalf of sufferers of MS.
39. Seth Myers – $12 million
Before his ubiquity on the chat show circuit, Seth Myers was best known as Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update anchor. Fortuitously, it would be after taking over SNL alum Jimmy Fallon’s spot on Late Night that the comedian got his break in talk shows. Since taking the reins in 2014, Myers has apparently accumulated a net worth of around $12 million.
38. Ricki Lake – $16 million
After first coming to prominence in the 1988 musical Hairspray, Ricki Lake made network history by hosting her own show five years later. With its host just 24 at the time, the show made Lake the youngest on the talk show circuit and it ran until 2004. Furthermore, over 30 years in showbiz has made Lake a very rich woman – with an estimated $16 million in the bank.
37. Arsenio Hall – $16 million
In contrast to many on this list, Arsenio Hall hasn’t been a constant presence on TV screens. Indeed, the comedian’s last program The Arsenio Hall Show was axed in 2014 following just one season. Despite this, Hall – who is perhaps best known for his early-1990’s hosting work – is reportedly worth an impressive $16 million.
36. James Corden – $30 million
Beloved in the U.K. thanks to shows like Gavin and Stacey, James Corden was little-known outside of his home country in the 2000s. But the comedian found a larger platform in 2011 when a “Carpool Karaoke” video with George Michael for the British charity TV special Red Nose Day gained international recognition. Now a Hollywood star and host of The Late Late Show, Corden is also believed to be sitting on a $30 million fortune.
35. Craig Ferguson – $30 million
Undoubtedly, Craig Ferguson was a unique presence on the talk show circuit. Through his stint on The Late Late Show, the comedian developed an unscripted, experimental style which contrasted with that of other late-night stalwarts. And while he left the show in 2014 with a rumored $5 million exit package, Ferguson has apparently worked hard enough to amass $30 million.
34. Graham Norton – $30 million
Graham Norton has become one of U.K. television’s biggest personalities, and the host’s playful interview style has endeared him to fans across the pond, too. The Graham Norton Show currently screens on BBC America, and the star is believed to be worth an estimated $30 million.
33. Trevor Noah – $40 million
Since taking The Daily Show’s reins from Jon Stewart in 2015, Trevor Noah has quickly built-up his fortune. But not all of the comedian’s supposed $40 million bank balance comes from his hosting gig. In fact, Noah’s wealth can also be attributed to his stand-up shows and bestselling memoir Born a Crime.
32. Carson Daly – $40 million
First envisioning a future in the priesthood, Carson Daly made a huge 180 with his eventual choice of career. Ditching his dreams of a cassock for the cameras, the star made his name on MTV before hosting his own show Last Call and later The Voice. Believed to be worth approximately $40 million, Daly freshens his bank balance through his company Carson Daly Productions.
31. Chelsea Handler – $40 million
With a ribald comedy style, Chelsea Handler is not your average chat show host. Starting her career in stand-up comedy, the bawdy personality has since taken up hosting jobs for E! with Chelsea Lately and on Netflix’s Chelsea. Moreover, her numerous books and stand-up shows mean that her wealth is now said to be around $40 million.
30. Wendy Williams – $40 million
Known for her sharp tongue and honest delivery, Wendy Williams initially found fame as a radio host. However, the presenter’s talents were wasted on the airwaves, and she went on to front The Wendy Williams Show in 2009. In addition, the star has made the The New York Times’ bestseller list as an author – which has helped lead to an estimated $40 million monopoly.
29. Jimmy Kimmel – $50 million
Believed to be worth $50 million, Jimmy Kimmel has quickly become one of America’s best-loved late-night hosts. Since 2003 his program Jimmy Kimmel Live! – produced under the star’s own company Jackhole Productions – has earned countless viewers and award nominations. It even led Kimmel to a hosting spot on the Oscars – much to the chagrin of movie star nemesis Matt Damon.
28. Larry King – $50 million
One of American media’s staunchest stalwarts, Larry King has been presenting shows since the late 1950s. However, most viewers will remember him for Larry King Live – which he oversaw from 1985 to 2010. Despite his years of loyal service and a reported $50 million fortune gleaned mostly from television, King has since switched to web-based programming with Larry King Now.
27. Jimmy Fallon – $60 million
Gaining fame as a member of Saturday Night Live in 1998, Jimmy Fallon has done everything from acting to comedy. But he found his niche ten years later when he took over from Conan O’Brien as Late Night’s host. Subsequently, he began a $11 million a year job presenting The Tonight Show in 2014 – which now apparently leaves his net worth at $60 million.
26. Stephen Colbert – $60 million
While he may have started out spoofing fellow hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Stephen Colbert has created a television persona all his own. Following a stint on The Daily Show, the satirist gained his own program The Colbert Report in 2005. Taking over the Late Show from David Letterman in 2015, the star now has a personal fortune of approximately $60 million.
25. Whoopi Goldberg – $60 million
She may be known today as a regular on The View, but Whoopi Goldberg has many talents. Since making her acting breakthrough in 1985’s The Color Purple, she has dabbled in directing, writing, producing and even running her own medical marijuana company. Is it any wonder then that the EGOT-winning Goldberg is worth a reported $60 million?
24. RuPaul – $60 million
Despite having an acting, singing and modeling career since the early 1980s, RuPaul didn’t truly break out until the launch of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. Since its debut, the show has spawned two spin-offs, won 13 Emmys and made its host a multi-millionaire. As of now, the entertainer is said to be worth a whopping $60 million.
23. Jerry Springer – $60 million
Perhaps no host in this list is as controversial as Jerry Springer. Once mayor of Cincinnati, the politician gained national notoriety when he began hosting The Jerry Springer Show in 1991. And the lurid contents of the show repeatedly earned it the label “trash TV.” Regardless, Springer has fared well from the outrage and is thought to be worth an estimated $60 million as a result.
22. Pat Sajak – $65 million
Few TV stars have had the staying power Pat Sajak has shown. Indeed, the personality has hosted NBC’s Wheel of Fortune for over three decades. Though some of his other TV ventures failed – including a year-long talk show from 1989 – Sajak’s diligence has paid off with three Emmy awards and an estimated $65 million to his name.
21. Michael Strahan – $65 million
Having made his name in the NFL, Michael Strahan looked to do something a little different with his post-football life. To this end, the athlete transitioned into television first as a member of Fox Sports and then as co-host of Live! With Kelly and Michael. Currently hosting Good Morning America, Strahan’s sport and entertainment interests are believed to have helped him amass a $65 million fortune.
20. Queen Latifah – $70 million
Actress, musician, producer – Queen Latifah can do anything. And naturally, the star has tried her hand at television as well. On one hand, her hosting on The Queen Latifah Show – which ran on two separate occasions over a nearly two-decade period – may look small in comparison to the rest of her work. But it still contributed to Latifah’s apparent $70 million net worth.
19. Alex Trebek – $75 million
Active for almost six decades, Alex Trebek has been one of media’s most enduring figures. Starting his first TV hosting gig with the Canadian show Music Hop in 1963, the quizmaster didn’t truly breakout until he started presenting Jeopardy! over 20 years later. With six Daytime Emmys and an apparent net worth of $75 million, the show has made its host a titan of television.
18. Tyra Banks – $90 million
Before getting her start in television, Tyra Banks was one of the world’s leading supermodels. It was her fashion experience which helped her create America’s Next Top Model in 2003 and helm it until the show ended 12 years later. With additional hosting duties on America’s Got Talent, Banks’ combined TV and catwalk credits reportedly add up to an approximate $90 million fortune.
17. Bill Maher – $100 million
Outspoken and always outrageous, Bill Maher has proved a divisive figure among TV audiences. For example, some insensitive comments regarding 9/11 led to his show Politically Incorrect’s cancellation in 2002. And his use of a racial epithet on Real Time 15 years later resulted in a similar backlash. Nonetheless, with a reported $100 million to his name, Maher has ridden controversy all the way to the bank.
16. Jon Stewart – $100 million
Through his time on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart established himself as one of TV’s most forthright and outspoken hosts. The comedian was famed for clashes with former Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly, while his critical appearance on CNN’s Crossfire led to that show’s cancellation. Despite bowing out of hosting duties in 2015, the firebrand still has an estimated $100 million to his name.
15. Conan O’Brien – $105 million
Though he’s endeared himself to millions as a host, Conan O’Brien originally wrote for shows like The Simpsons. Since then, he’s weathered numerous storms – most notably a 2010 conflict with Jay Leno – to emerge as a beloved fixture on TV. Thanks to stints on Late Night, The Tonight Show and Conan, O’Brien is believed to be sitting on a cool $105 million.
14. Rosie O’Donnell – $120 million
Perhaps most associated with The View – which she last appeared on in 2015 – Rosie O’Donnell has many strings to her bow. In fact, the forthright comedian has released books, magazines and helmed her own self-titled show for six years from 1996. Now set to appear in I Know This Much is True, it is estimated that O’Donnell is worth a more-than-modest $120 million.
13. Kelly Ripa – $120 million
It’s unlikely that you’ll find anyone with quite as hectic a work schedule as Kelly Ripa. Besides hosting Live since 2001, the star has appeared in sitcoms like Hope & Faith, endorsed numerous products and even managed her own production company Milojo. Reportedly worth an estimated $120 million, Ripa has certainly seen her hard work pay off.
12. Regis Philbin – $150 million
As the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Regis Philbin was used to handing over hefty cash prizes. But these rewards paled in comparison to the star’s own paychecks – which made him America’s highest paid gameshow presenter. During his three-year tenure from 1999, Philbin took home $20 million annually, and he is now apparently sitting on a $150 million fortune.
11. Drew Carey – $165 million
A former U.S. Marine, Drew Carey swapped the drills and discipline of the army for a career in stand-up comedy. Certainly, the move paid off and, after successful programs like Whose Line is it Anyway?, Carey now wields an estimated $165 million in the bank. Currently the face of The Price is Right, this star is unlikely to leave TV anytime soon.
10. Barbara Walters – $170 million
As The Today Show’s first female host, Barbara Walters helped break new ground in television. Known for her emotionally charged interviews, the journalist’s tear-inducing reports have yielded both critical acclaim and financial success. Though retired since 2014, Walters’ 12 Emmy wins and a reported $170 million net worth remind us of her towering influence.
9. Steve Harvey – $200 million
He may sometimes read out the wrong winner at beauty pageants, but Steve Harvey is still a dependable TV host. As Family Feud’s presenter since 2010, the comedian has earned two Emmys and three more for a self-titled talk show that ran for a five-year period from 2012. Furthermore, stand-up gigs and book sales have notched his total wealth up to an estimated $200 million.
8. Anderson Cooper – $200 million
Born into the wealthy Vanderbilt family, Anderson Cooper could have lived life the easy way. Instead, he made his own name in journalism – earning acclaim as a CNN correspondent and then as an anchor and host of shows like Anderson Cooper 360°. All in all, the reporter has an estimated $200 million fortune to call his own.
7. David Letterman – $400 million
Through over three decades of hard work, David Letterman rightly deserves the honor as late night TV’s longest working host. The comedian has managed to accumulate a reported $400 million bank balance over time since making his debut on Late Night in 1982. Following his retirement in 2015, Letterman has been keeping busy via his Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
6. Judy Sheindlin – $420 million
While working as a judge in New York City, Judge Judy Sheindlin gained a reputation for her no-nonsense approach to court proceedings. So much so, in fact, that she gained an offer from CBS to host her own show Judge Judy in 1996. Almost 25 years later, the show is still running – the profits of which have seen Sheindlin apparently rack up a $420 million net worth.
5. Ryan Seacrest – $430 million
Perhaps the busiest man in showbiz, Ryan Seacrest has reportedly earned $430 million thanks to a stack of presenting jobs. Through hosting American Idol, the star raked in $15 million a year, and radio shows, red carpet appearances and production duties further increased his finances. Furthermore, Seacrest remains popular via ABC’s Live with Kelly & Ryan.
4. Dr. Phil – $440 million
Gaining fame thanks to Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw is easily America’s most famous medical professional. Since 2002 the star has enjoyed phenomenal success managing his talk show Dr. Phil – while a series of books and public appearances have raised his wealth considerably. Today, McGraw is said to be worth approximately $440 million.
3. Jay Leno – $450 million
Before retiring from The Tonight Show in 2014, Jay Leno was late-night television’s highest-rated personality. But while his reported $15 million annual salary may have been big by any comedian’s standards, Leno rose above his peers with a further $20 million gleaned from stand-up tours. Consequently, his wealth is apparently estimated at a jaw-dropping $450 million.
2. Ellen DeGeneres – $490 million
Though she began as a sitcom star with Ellen, the presenter is arguably most famous for hosting her self-titled talk show since 2003. Nevertheless, her media and business empire doesn’t just end there. With apps, websites and fashion endorsements to her name, DeGeneres is sitting pretty with a reported $490 million fortune.
1. Oprah Winfrey – $3.5 billion
Easily overshadowing her closest competitors in terms of wealth, Oprah Winfrey remains TV’s highest earning personality and is believed to have an astonishing $3.5 billion in the bank. Following the start of her self-titled show in 1986, the star’s media empire has expanded to include books, magazines and even television and radio networks. Indeed, her moniker “Queen of All Media” is well-deserved.