The World’s Wealthiest Talk Show Hosts
For several decades or just a handful of meaningful years, memorable talk show hosts have an innate ability to connect with audience members. Natural-born entertainers, these early morning, mid-day, and late-night hosts have found their fame and fortune through their various feel-good, gossipy, pop culture-focused niches. No matter your daily interest, there’s a talk show host for you… they may just not be worth millions. However, for celebrity talk show hosts we all know and love, let’s find out who’s made the most in the industry!
James Corden - $12 Million
Since 2015, English television producer, writer, and actor, James Corden, has hosted his own show – The Late Late Show with James Corden, on CBS. Corden is also recognized for the 2011 creation of the popular Carpool Karaoke series, as well the 2007 – 2010 series run of the BBC sitcom, Gavin & Stacey.
Jimmy Kimmel - $35 Million
Since 2003, Jimmy Kimmel has executive produced and hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! To prepare for his long-running late-night talk show gig, Kimmel had previously co-hosted The Man Show alongside Adam Carolla and on Win Ben Stein’s Money alongside the titular Ben Stein – both products of Comedy Central.
Chelsea Handler - $40 Million
From 2007 until 2015, American actress and writer, Chelsea Joy Handler, hosted her own late-night talk show on the E! network entitled Chelsea Lately. Upon her retirement from this eight-year hosting gig, Handler went on to host Chelsea, a product of Netflix, between 2016 and 2017. “I would like a healthy mix of everything that goes on around the world, mixed with interesting stuff in our country. The well-roundedness of 60 Minutes but faster, quicker, cooler,” she remarked about the show.
Whoopi Goldberg - $45 Million
As an actress, singer, comedian, author, and television host, Whoopi Goldberg has accomplished much in Hollywood. She’s won a Tony, Academy, Grammy, and Emmy Award – just one of sixteen individuals. She’s fondly recognized for her portrayal of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act. In the modern day, Goldberg has co-hosted The View since 2007.
Jimmy Fallon - $45 Million
Jimmy Fallon seems to do it all. The producer, writer, actor, and comedian rose to fame when he was commissioned to NBC’s Saturday Night Live program in 1989. In 2009, he began hosting Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, moving to his current and ever-popular The Tonight Show hosting gig in 2014.
Stephen Colbert - $45 Million
Stephen Colbert will always be remembered for his high-octane “conservative” personality on the politically opinionated news parody concept known as The Colbert Report (2005 – 2015). That said, we must pay homage to Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show that allowed the comedian to eventually replace David Letterman on CBS’ Late Show in 2015.
Andy Cohen - $50 Million
One could argue that Andy Cohen is the face of the Bravo television network. When Bravo purchased Trio, a former Canadian turned American television network that focused on pop culture, in 2004, Cohen became the network’s Vice President of original programming. In 2009, Cohen began hosting the reality-driven Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen show.
Wendy Williams - $60 Million
Wendy Joan Williams began her initial rise into stardom back in 1990 when she joined the WBLS (New York, New York) radio channel discussing trending news in the celebrity space. Williams was once given a former daytime talk show gig in 1997 that never made it to market, but now hosts her notorious The Wendy Williams Show, and has done so since 2008.
Trevor Noah - $60 Million
Once Jon Stewart retired from his position as the host of The Daily Show in 2015, South African-born actor, writer, producer, and political commentator, Trevor Noah, took the reins. During the early 2010s, Noah cemented himself for the future hosting gig by becoming the Senior International Correspondent for The Daily Show in 2014.
Michael Strahan - $65 Million
After a 15-year playing career with the New York Giants as a defensive end, Michael Strahan retired from the NFL in 2007. In 2008, he began co-hosting the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show next to American sportscaster Curt Menefee. From 2012 until 2016, Strahan co-hosted Live! With Kelly and Michael before leaving to eventually join Good Morning America.
Jon Stewart - $80 Million
Believe it or not, Jon Stewart hosted the late-night talk show, The Jon Stewart Show, on MTV, between 1993 and 1995. A mere four years later, the industry would promote Stewart to host The Daily Show from 1999 until 2015, taking over from Craig Kilborn. Indebted to Stewart, The Daily Show saw a resurgence in viewership upon his arrival, ultimately leading the late-night talk show to become the longest-running program on Comedy Central.
Bill O’Reilly - $85 Million
Before joining the Fox News Channel in 1996, Bill O’Reilly was working for the television tabloid show, Inside Edition, between 1989 and 1995. The next year, he would begin hosting The O’Reilly Factor up until his departure in 2017. He was dismissed when the New York Times noted several settled sexual misconduct lawsuits against the host.
Conan O’Brien - $85 Million
For nearly 28 years (and counting), Conan Christopher O’Brien has hosted several late-night talk shows. The host began writing for Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons during the late 1980s and early 1990s before earning the host role of his first 1993-2009 tenure on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien. In 2009 through the next year, he hosted The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Most recently, the host ended his latest late-night host gig on the 2010 – 2021 NBC program, Conan.
Tyra Banks - $90 Million
At the young age of 15, Tyra Banks began modeling. She was the first African-American woman to be placed as the cover on GQ and an issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She appeared as a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1997 until 2005. During this time, Banks also began hosting her long-running reality competition, America’s Next Top Model.
Kelly Ripa - $100 Million
Since 1986, American actress, producer, and dancer, Kelly Ripa has been eyeing the camera. During the 1990s and 2000s, Ripa appeared on All My Children and Hope & Faith. In 2001, she joined Regis Philbin on Live with Regis & Kelly between 2001 and 2011. It was one year later in 2012 that she began appearing next to Michael Strahan.
Anderson Cooper - $100 Million
Known for running into the heart of the storm for a topical story, Anderson Cooper gained international recognition for his coverage of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Cooper joined CNN in 2001, earning his namesake show, Anderson Cooper 360. Further, the host is a CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent. Cooper has won two Peabody Awards and 18 Emmy Awards for his reporting work.
Bill Maher - $100 Million
Since 2003, Bill Maher has served as the host of HBO’s political program, Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 and has been named #38 on Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All Time.” Maher is famous for his sociopolitical commentary and political satire.
Steve Harvey - $120 Million
Steve Harvey began in the entertainment industry during the 1980s working as a stand-up comedian. Although his comedic career ended in 2012 (the last year he performed a show), Harvey has kept the laughs going in his work as host of The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud, and host of the Miss Universe competition since 2015.
Larry King - $150 Million
Larry King, recently departed, was a television host legend. With a career beginning in 1957, King is known to have hosted over 50,000 interviews. These numbers largely come from his work as host in The Larry King Show (a radio program), Larry King Live on CNN, Larry King Now, and Politicking with Larry, the last two airing on Hulu, Ora TV, and RT America.
Sharon Osbourne - $220 Million
Born in London, Sharon Osbourne has become a staple in American culture. Sharon is married to former Black Sabbath vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne, but has carved out a name for herself as well. Sharon has been a host on The X factor, American’s Got Talent, and co-host on CBS’ The Talk.
Sean Hannity - $220 Million
Sean Patrick Hannity, a conservative political commentator, has hosted Hannity on Fox News since 2009. The show originally featured Hannity’s former co-star, Alan Colmes. The two joined Fox and co-hosted Hannity & Colmes since 1996, ending in 2008 upon Colmes’ departure.
Ryan Seacrest - $380 Million
There doesn’t seem to be any successful pop-culture concept that Ryan Seacrest has not touched. Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Live with Kelly and Ryan, American Top 40, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, Shah’s of Sunset, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and many other credits we were unable to realistically address.
Jay Leno - $400 Million
From 1992 until 2009, James Douglas Muir Leno hosted the show of his own name, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for NBC. Five years after Leno’s departure, the writer and comedian has hosted Jay Leno’s Garage, a web/television series focused on cars and motorcycles.
David Letterman - $400 Million
David Letterman is a man that has tremendous respect and legacy in the talkshow space. He is most famous for hosting the Late Show with David Letterman from 1993 until 2015 but has sincerely influenced other late-night hosts including Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert. In over 6,080 episodes of Late Night and the Late Show, Letterman is the longest-serving late-night talk show host in American television. In 2018, Letterman began hosting My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman for Netflix.
Dr. Phil (McGraw) - $400 Million
Professionally trained in clinical psychology, Phillip Calvin McGraw, rather… Dr. Phil, has not renewed his practice psychology license since 2006. Nonetheless, Dr. Phil has become a talkshow sensation since first appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the midst of the late 1990s. The “Dr.” received his own show in 2002.
Judy Sheindlin - $420 Million
Not necessarily a talk show host in a traditional manner, Judith Sheindlin, is better known as Judge Judy. The former family court judge, prosecutor, author, producer, and host of the 25-year-long reality courtroom series, Judge Judy, recently taped the show’s finale in 2021. She has a new arbitration-based reality court show known as Judy Justice coming out in 2022.
Ellen Degeneres - $450 Million
Before Ellen DeGeneres began hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003, the writer, actress, and producer starred in another show, a sitcom simply entitled Ellen. Since 1978, Degeneres has gone on to win a Presidential Medal of Freedom, 30 Emmys, and 20 People’s Choice Awards for her film work and philanthropic efforts.
Simon Cowell - $550 Million
Simon Cowell… where do we begin? For eight long years, he served as the sassy English host on America’s reality singing competition sensation, American Idol. From there he began to judge and host The X factor US and then America’s Got Talent. Cowell has also founded Syco Entertainment, a British multimedia company.
Howard Stern - $650 Million
Since 2006, Howard Stern has been a visible face of Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Self-proclaimed as the “King of All Media,” Stern became a radio legend throughout the 1986 – 2005 running of The Howard Stern Show and its national syndication.
Oprah Winfrey - $3.2 Billion
Could it have been anyone else? Unlike Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey has been named the “Queen of All Media,” largely thanks to her incredibly kind, passionate, and understanding personality, most often associated with the 1986-2011 running of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Aside from several Daytime Emmy Awards, Oprah has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, and has frequently been named the most influential woman in the world.