Some notable 50 plusers are the leading earners in the entertainment world. Satellite radio and TV show host and shock jock Howard Stern has always been on a different level, whether by the number of hate mail received, amount of FCC fines levied, on-air cursing and obscenity-laden tirades, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone better. But for the last several years, Howard has been second on a list that he won’t soon be able to top: the list of highest paid talk show hosts.
When it comes to talk show hosts, no one comes close to Oprah Winfrey. Not by a mile. Not by a long shot. The undisputed queen of talk tops the list of highest paid talk show hosts at a mind numbing $275 million over the course of the year. To her loyal fans, Oprah is royalty – and if the USA, by some unforeseen event shifts to a monarchy, she would no doubt be crowned queen.
Coming in at a not so close – actually far – second place is Stern with earnings of around $75 million for the year. Stern should be happy with second place, since very few, even outside the world of TV and Hollywood come close to matching Oprah’s annual moolah haul. Besides, at $75 million a year, there’s really no reason to complain.
Rounding out the top five are David Letterman - $45 million; Judge Judy Sheindlin - $45 million; and Dr. Phil McGrath - $40 million.
Stern’s rise to his mega millions started on 16 December 2005, the date he signed off his last broadcast radio show. A few weeks later, he officially came into his satellite radio program on the Sirius Satellite Radio system.
Sirius inked Stern to a 5-year, $100 million annual deal hoping to bring his show and his millions of rabidly loyal following over to satellite radio. To place that amount in perspective, the deal is roughly worth $1,923,077 a week, or $274,725 a day. Sirius also reportedly awarded him a one-time $225 million bonus in Sirius stock for meeting subscription benchmarks.
Aside from radio, he also has his own cable TV production company, Howard TV. He’s also a best selling author. His autobiography Private Parts was published in 1993, followed by the 1995 book Miss America. Both were successful bestsellers. He even played himself in a feature film version of Private Parts in 1998.
Stern can still breathe a sigh of relief, though, as even if he is second in the list to Oprah, he is still the undisputed highest-paid radio personality in America, and that’s not bad at all.