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Ryan, Oprah & Matt Top the Top Earners of TV

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Aug. 11 2010, Updated 10:14 a.m. ET

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You may not be shocked by the names on TV's top earners list — Ryan Seacrest, Oprah Winfrey and Matt Lauer — but their respective salaries might surprise you!

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Salaries for TV stars are not as big as they used to be, TV Guide Magazine reports.

The salary for a lead has been $150,000 to $200,000 per episode in recent years, but for new fall series most deals were between $75,000 and $125,000.

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"No one broke the bank on anything this year," one former studio head said.

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Since ad revenues were hit by the recession, DVR has become popular as well as watching shows online,  and networks have been cutting costs.

But if the TV star's show is on the rise, then it's a completely different story!

Below are the top three earners (per episode) in each category!

Drama

Hugh Laurie (House) — $400,000+

Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) — $395,000 (each)

David Caruso (CSI: Miami)  — $375,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication

Oprah Winfrey — $315 million

Judge Judy Sheindlin — $45 million

David Letterman (The Late Show) — $28 million

Reality

Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) — $15 million

Joel McHale (The Soup) — $2 million

Piers Morgan (America's Got Talent) — $2 million

Comedy

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men) — $1.25 million

Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) — $550,000

Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives) — $400,000

News

Matt Lauer (Today) — $16 million +

Katie Couric (CBS) — $15 million

Brian Williams (NBC) — $12.5 million

Click HERE to see the complete list!

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