For these iconic stars, landing their big break in a hit TV sitcom or TV show really was the dream. Although some actors lust after movie careers, a TV series can be an instant way to catapult your way to fame. These shows can offer a steady cash injection and can even help win the hearts of a nation. Plus, these shows can spin a small fortune. They can be re-run for years on our screens, even after the show has wrapped up.
From Seinfield to The Brady Bunch, these stars became household names after starring in some of these iconic shows. Even though some ventured out into movies, many of these actors are still adored by fans for their most recognizable TV roles. We now can’t imagine TV life without them. So let’s see why these small-screen stars are still smiling, and see how much fortune they really still rake in from their iconic sitcoms and shows.
Jennifer Grossed $1 Million per Episode
Ever since Jennifer Aniston burst into Central Perk dressed in a wedding dress on Friends, Rachel Green instantly became one of the beloved TV characters of all time. We were as obsessed with her ever-changing fashion choices, career and hairstyles as much as following her notorious “on-off” relationship with Ross.
Although fans said farewell to the timeless sitcom in 2004 after ten seasons, we still think fondly of Rachel. Jennifer now a Hollywood A-lister, still gets a constant reminder of her Friends‘ days. She reportedly earned around $1 million per episode and still amasses up to $20 million per year from dividends from the hit Warner Bros show. So far, she has raked in a fortune of over $240 million from Friends, which is pretty huge.
Ray Romano Raked in $1.8 Million an Episode
We all loved watching Ray Romano try to navigate his overbearing family and married life in Everybody Love’s Raymond. The sportswriter managed to keep his sense of humor despite his obnoxious parents, jealous brother and understandably, passive-aggressive wife. Ray was even awarded an Emmy Award for his comedic efforts.
The classic sitcom ran for nine seasons until 2005, and Ray Romano was reportedly paid up to $1.8 million per episode. The show became a cult TV classic and people still love watching the family’s exploits to this day. The star is now worth $130 million and earns $18 million in royalties per year for the Everybody Still Loves Raymond re-runs.
Sasha Pieterse Made a Pretty Big $2 Million
Sasha Pieterse shot to TV stardom as Alison Di Laurentis, the “Queen Bee” of Rosewood’s social scene, in the teen-drama Pretty Little Liars. While she is popular, she became the talk of the town when she mysteriously disappeared from the scene. So most of her character is portrayed in flashbacks.
As much as fans are drawn to her, we were also introduced more and more to her sinister side. Still, the series is filled with drama, mystery, lies and plot twists and Alison remains a big part of the storyline throughout. Even though the show came to a grand finale, she’s still popular. Sasha is now starring in the spinoff series, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists and has a net worth of around $2 million from the franchise.
Ed O’Neill’s Took Home $500,000 per Episode
Ed O’Neill is now well known nowadays as Jay from the timeless hit Modern Family. However, he first became a household name as the patriarch of the family, Al Bundy in Married With Children. He starred alongside Katey Sagal in the biting comedy, which defied family conventions and introduced us to their refreshing and dysfunctional “modern family.”
The refreshing comedy captured the hearts of the nation and Ed O’Neill reportedly raked in $500,000 per episode. It also helped pave the way for Ed’s next iconic hit, Modern Family. While both shows are TV classics today, Ed still amasses a small fortune for Married with Children reruns and earns up to $10 million per year.
Ted Danson earned $450,000 per episode
Ted Danson is now a seasoned A-lister with a long and prolific acting career. However, for hardcore fans, they still fondly remember him as Sam Malone in the classic ’80s NBC comedy Cheers. Sam played the owner of the iconic bar where “everybody knows your name.” So, he really was the glue that held the entire cast together.
Sam was also full of charm and had a reputation as a lady’s man. And he sure won us all over with his winning smile every time. While he went on to other ventures like The Good Place, he still has plenty of reasons to cheer. At the peak of the show’s success, he earned around $450,000 per episode. Now he’s still lining his pockets with around $5 million a year from the show’s royalties.
Jim Parsons Banked $900,000 an Episode
Jim Parsons became a household name as Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He played an eccentric science prodigy with a genius I.Q. And what he lacked social skills, he made up for with his hilarious one-liners. As the show continued, we warmed to him more and more. We especially rooted for him when he found love with his equally smart girlfriend Amy, played by Mayim Bialik.
The show was responsible for making science jokes cool and at the height of its success, Jim Parson was taking home $900,000 an episode. He later went onto reprise his role in a spin-off production. Amazingly, in 2018, Jim was labeled by Forbes as the world’s highest-paid actor. He still bumps up his bank account with $26.5 million per year.
Alyson Reeled In $250,000 per Episode
Alyson Hannigan shot to TV stardom on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She starred as Buffy’s high school friend, Willow Rosenberg, who won us over as a shy and vulnerable, girl-next-door character. That is until she began to harness her magical powers. As her confidence grew, she then transformed into a complex and dark vampire slayer.
We all followed Willow on her journey of magical exploration, which is why she is still a hugely popular TV character with a devoted fan base. Alyson went on to star as the band-camp loving Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie franchise and Lily Aldrin in How I Met Your Mother. Still, she can’t forget her vampire roots. She earned $250,000 per episode and now has a net worth of $18 million, with a lot of help from the royalties from Buffy.
Alan Alda Racked Up $235,000 an Episode
If anyone can make a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital into a comedy, then Alan Alda could. He portrayed the central character in M*A*S*H, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce and gave the show a big comic twist. In between treating wounded soldiers, Hawkeye managed to make the best of life. That was with the help of a few practical jokes and a big sense of humor.
When the classic show first aired, Alan earnt around $10,000 per episode. As it began to win over fans nationwide, that figure increased to around $235,000. Fans said farewell to the famous show in 1983, but it wasn’t a long goodbye. It’s still a firm TV favorite to this day, so Alan Alda is still lining his pockets with $1 million per year.
David Banked $1 Million Each Episode
David Schwimmer will always hold a special place in TV history after charming us all as Ross Gellar from the iconic sitcom, Friends. We all watched on as the lovesick paleontologist tried to navigate his friends, career and we’re still not sure if he and Rachel were really “on a break” or not.
At the peak of the show, just like his castmates, David was earning around $1 million per episode. David went on to lend his recognizable voice to the Madagascar franchise and star in shows like American Crime Story. Still, we’ll always think of him as our loveable friend Ross Gellar. Although the show wrapped up in 2004, David now has a net worth of $85 million. That figure is set to soar as he still rakes in $20 million per year from Friends.
David Caruso Collected $375,000 an Episode
David Caruso impressed us all with his crime-solving talents on the famed CBS series CSI: Miami. He took us all on his crime-cracking adventures as Lieutenant Horatio Caine between 2002 and 2012. He’s known as much for taking his iconic shades off and witty one-liners as much as his detective hunches.
We’re happy that he continued his law-enforcing career and impressed us just as much as Detective John Kelly in the crime drama NYPD Blue. CSI also became a cult franchise and spawned many spin-off shows. At the peak of the show, he pulled in as much as $375,000 per episode. Even though he’s not solving crimes anymore, he has a net worth of $35 million, thanks in part to the CSI re-runs.
Courtney Cox Scored $1 Million Each Episode
For most of the world, Courtney Cox has become synonymous with her control-freak alter ego, Monica Gellar in Friends. Known for her competitive nature, obsessive cleaning and desire to control things, Monica was actually pretty loveable. She managed to make obsessive cleaning cool. All her pals loved hanging out in her clean apartment and eating her food all day.
We all warmed to Monica throughout the series, and she later won over her pal Chandler, and the pair made a winning team. Even though Courtney then starred in the Scream franchise and Cougar Town, she will always be Monica to us. She earned $1 million and episode and now has a net worth of $150 million. Still, she gets a big reminder each year of her time as Monica too, with her $20 million Friends paycheck each year.
Johnny Raked In $900,000 per Episode
Fans may remember Jonny Galecki as David Healy, the boy who fell for Darlene in the long-standing sitcom, Rosanne. Nowadays, he’s better known as Leonard Hofstadter, the experimental physicist in the hit series The Big Bang Theory. With his thick-framed glasses and geeky persona, Leonard was most as home with his science-loving pals and his roommate Sheldon.
Despite his initial lack of experience with women, Leonard proved to be the most confident out of his friends. He eventually stole his neighbor Penny’s heart and their love story became part of the winning appeal of the show. The show ran for 12 seasons and he earned $900,000 per episode. Even though the show has now come to an end, Johnny is the world’s second-highest-paid TV actor and has amassed around $25 million.
Julia Took Home $600,000 an Episode
Julia Louis-Dreyfus had her big TV break as Elaine Benes in the hugely popular and iconic sitcom Seinfield. While she was “one of the boys,” Elaine also provided a strong female force in the male-centric cast. Elaine was smart, assertive and a little neurotic, with a tendency to get angry. Her best friend was also her ex-boyfriend, Jerry Seinfield, which made for some hilarious and awkward storylines.
Through her charm and charisma, Elaine and had a hilarious rapport with every member of the cast. This is why she is still fondly remembered by fans. To her credit, she’s also one of the most awarded actresses in TV history. Even though the show was notoriously about “nothing,” it’s still loved by fans today. Julia earned $600, 000 per episode around $400 million in residuals from Seinfield.
Fred Savage Collected $14 million
Fred Savage captured all our hearts when he bounced onto our screens as Kevin Arnold in the coming-of-age comedy-drama The Wonder Years. We all followed the adorable teen Kevin on his journey into adulthood. While he tried to navigate his life in high school, we were just as hooked on following his adorable relationship with his girlfriend Winnie Cooper.
The Wonder Years was s feel-good sitcom classic and still fills us with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. It’s often ranked as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, which is why fans still tune in to relive the magic. The show was canceled because of a conflict with the executives. Still, Fred doesn’t have to wonder about money anymore. He now has a net worth of around $14 million, with a big help from the Wonder Years‘ re-runs.
Matt Picked Up $1 Million per Episode
For hardcore fans, Matt Le Blanc will always be the loveable Italian ladies man next-door, Joey Tribiani from Friends. Known for his fondness of sandwiches, pizza, and the ladies, Joey would typically set women’s pulses racing with the infamous catchphrase, “How you doin’?” He was always the last friend to get any joke. But he won us all over with his loveable charms.
Joey was a popular member of the cast and we couldn’t get enough of his on-screen bromance with his bestie Chandler. So, while Joey played a struggling actor in the show, in real life he didn’t have any money worries. He was earning up to $1 million per episode and went off to star in a spin-off show, Joey. Although this was short-lived, he has a net worth of $80 million and earns $20 million per year from Friends, so he’s “doin’ pretty ok!”
Sarah Slayed $100,000 per Episode
Sarah Michelle Gellar shot to fame as Buffy Summers, the fearless vampire slayer in the iconic series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. As a small-town, high-school cheerleader by day, she discovered she’s the chosen “Slayer.” So by night, Buffy assumed her responsibility and started to slay all the creatures, demons and vampires lurking in the midst.
Of course, Sarah had the help of her high school pals, dubbed the Scooby gang. She also had some love interests along the way. The show still has a cult following. After the TV series wrapped up, Sarah then starred in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer film and the spin-off series, Angel. While she doesn’t have to slay any more vampires, she is still slaying it in life. She earned $100,000 per episode and has racked up around $1 million in residuals for the re-runs.
James Banked $1 Million an Episode
James Gandolfini captured everyone’s hearts as Tony Soprano in the classic crime-drama, The Sopranos. He played the loveable, Italian mobster with a conscience, which made him pretty relatable. Even though he was the head of the mafia crime family, and was prone to some pretty sociopathic decisions, he still managed to make an endearing TV villain.
We also loved watching Tony’s relationship with his wife and his own family, which made him even more multi-dimensional and gave him a cult fan following. At the height of the show’s success, James was taking home $1 million per episode. Although his life was tragically cut short, he was worth around $70 million, with the help of the hit show.
Farrah Fawcett Secured $5,000 per Episode
Farrah Fawcett was a cultural icon in the ’70s, and starring in Charlie’s Angel‘s helped propelled Farrah to stardom. The franchise is still a big part of pop culture to this day and spawned plenty of spin-off movies. Still. many fans still fondly remember Farrah Fawcett as one of the original angels from the original TV series.
Farrah landed her breakthrough role in 1976 as Jill Munroe. The popular actress earned $5,000 per episode and even received a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts. She then went on to grace other hits like Spin City and The Cookout. Thanks to the royalties from Charlie’s Angels, and her other acting credits, she racked up a net worth of $20 million.
Melissa Sue Anderson Made $1.5 Million
Melissa Sue Anderson started out as a child star, after landing her big break in the classic series, Little House on the Praire. The show revolved around a family living on a farm in the 1870s and Melissa captivated everyone as the blind daughter, Mary Ingalls. She starred in eight seasons of the show and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her part.
The show was famous for exploring some very touchy subjects, from poverty and sickness to prejudice, and pulled on everyone’s heartstrings. Melissa was a beloved member of the cast and while she continued to act after, we all still remember her as Mary Ingalls. The show is a cult classic and is still being replayed on TV today. And Melissa now has a net worth of $1.5 million, partly due to the success of the show.
Matthew Grossed $1 Million per Episode
Matthew Perry is better known as his sarcastic and witty alter ego, Chandler Bing from Friends. As the joker of the group, Chandler was known for his witty one-liners like, “Could I be any happier.” We also were obsessed with his bromance with his bestie and roommate, Joey. And while he was initially unlucky in love, we’re glad he later found his “lobster” or partner for life and fell for his friend, Monica.
Monica and Chandler were polar opposites but somehow completed each other, which is another reason why we loved Chandler. Just like his friends, Matthew lined his pockets with $1 million per episode. The timeless sitcom still has a huge fan base and is still being re-run today. So Matthew’s pockets couldn’t get any deeper. He has a net worth of $120 million and still earns $20 million per year from Friends.
Nancy Netted $315,000 per Episode
In one of the most shocking twists in TV history, as it turns out, Bart Simpson is actually voiced by a woman. The woman behind the distinctive voice is Nancy Cartwright. Amazingly, Nancy also lent her talents to other characters in the epic animated sitcom, The Simpon’s, such as Nelson Muntz and Todd Flanders.
Interestingly, Nancy first auditioned for the role of Bart’s sister Lisa but found the role of her boisterous brother Bart, far more interesting. For her incredible work as a major voice behind the long-standing animated series, Nancy scored a Primetime Emmy Award. She earns around $315,000 per episode and the show is still going on.
David Hasselhoff Amassed $100 Million
We now can’t imagine a life without Baywatch and all those stars running in slow-motion in their red swimsuits. It was more of a cultural phenomenon than a TV show. And at the heart of the entire series was David Hasselhoff as the iconic Baywatch hunk, Mitch or “The Hoff.”
Baywatch helped plunged “The Hoff” into the limelight. And although he ventured out to star in other seasoned hits like Knight Rider, we have a feeling Baywatch will follow him forever. He even reprised his role in the 2017 action-remake. David reportedly earned around $100 million from his time running around on the iconic show. Now he doesn’t even have to patrol the beach anymore, and still earns around $4 million a year.
Marg Took Home $375,000 per Episode
Marg Helgenberger is better known for her on-screen crime investigator persona, Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. As one of the original and longest-standing members of the cast, she wowed us with her forensics knowledge. She continued to investigate and solve mysterious crimes for 15 seasons.
Marg was critically acclaimed for her role as Catherine Willows. She even landed two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, as well as two Golden Globe Award Nominations. She also became one of the highest-paid actors in any of the CSI franchises and took home $375,000 per episode. That’s before the royalties from the show. She has a net worth $16 million but still continues to act.
Bob Denver Took Home $5,000 per Episode
Bob Denver stole everyone’s affections as Gilligan on the 1960s classic show Gilligan’s Island. He was affectionately known as “Little Buddy” or “Skipper” too. He is still remembered for his trademark red shirt, navy hat and adorable smile. Bob also had a habit of bumbling and was pretty accident-prone, which made him even more endearing.
Gillian was the protagonist of the show, which centered around a group of seven castaways who were shipwrecked on an island. The series became one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Although it only ran for three seasons, it’s still adored by fans today. The show came off the air in 1967, but Bob Denver was always reminded of his time as a castaway. He raked in around $5,000 per episode but amassed a staggering $90 million for the show in royalties.
Maureen McCormick Took Home $4 Million
Maureen McCormick became a teen icon after starring as Marcia Brady in the Brady Bunch. As the second-eldest child in the Brady gang, she was one of the most popular members of the cast. She had a reputation for being a perfect Brady girl and was also a popular high school student. But we all still warmed to her as she revealed her insecurities and unrequited crushes.
Maureen went on to reprise the iconic role of Marcia in a series of Brady spin-off series. We then followed her as she matured into adulthood on screen. After starring in The Brady Bunch franchise, Maureen now has a net worth of $4 million.