Forbes recently presented their annual list of highest paid TV hosts and it looks like working on a reality television court is really profitable these days. According to the magazine, the highest paid TV host in 2018 was Judy Sheindlin aka Judge Judy, the star of Daytime Emmy Award-winning reality court show of the same name.
Sheindlin took home $147 million pretax, mostly thanks to the fact that she sold the rights to 5,200 past episodes of Judge Judy to CBS alongside the rights to future episodes of the show for around $100 million. The remaining $47 million came from the annual salary for hosting the series and earnings she pocketed as Hot Bench producer.
Ellen DeGeneres, the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, managed to claim the second spot on the list earning $87.5 million pretax. Besides the fee received from hosting the popular talk show, DeGeneres’ earnings were boosted by the $20 million check she received earlier this year for her Netflix stand-up special. She also earns millions in producer salaries and licensing fees.
Dr. Phil McGraw has a successful year behind him, starting several different ventures that helped him earn more than $77 million pretax. Besides hosting Dr. Phil, one of the most popular daytime talk shows on television, McGraw also increased his bank account by producing shows The Bull, The Doctors and Daily Mail TV as well as cofounding the app Doctors on Demand.
The list of highest paid TV hosts in 2018 concludes with American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, who earned $74 million, and Family Feud’s Steve Harvey, who pocketed $44 million.
In order to compile the list, Forbes used data from Nielsen, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, alongside information from sources within the industry and estimated earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018.