Judge Judy didn't make our Celebrity 100 list this year because we measure a combination of money and fame and her fame numbers just weren't good enough. But her long-running show still earns millions. It regularly tops the list of most watched syndicated daytime shows.
The star and executive-producer of the daytime talk show hit "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," now in its 10th year and drawing 3.5 million viewers daily, will soon be back on the silver screen. She recently signed on to "Finding Dory," a reprise of her role as a charmingly forgetful blue tang fish in Disney-Pixar's $921 million grossing film "Finding Nemo." The 55-year-old CoverGirl is also a social media superstar. Her YouTube channel's 1.7 billion views and 18 million Twitter followers have made her a hit with young viewers.
Last year Seacrest added duties on the "Today show" to his already busy roster of jobs. The host is completely unique in that he now works for Comcast/NBC on Today and E! network, Fox on "American Idol" and ABC on the network's New Year's Eve special. Time for CBS to get into the Ryan Seacrest business. After a brutal house cleaning at "American Idol," Seacrest is the only man left standing from the show's original lineup.
The outspoken real estate mogul continues to earn a pretty penny from NBC's "The Apprentice," now in its thirteenth season. As well as a generous fee as producer and host, The Don makes money on what's known in showbiz as "integration": product placement. He continues to reap millions as a one-man brand, including books, speaking engagements, his Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants and an ever-expanding portfolio of products. His Trump Signature Collection of suits, dress shirts, ties and more are sold at Macy's, and the Trump stamp can be found on everything from alcohol to high-end mattresses.
After the controversial talk show host called Sandra Fluke a "slut" for advocating insurance coverage for birth control, spooked advertisers started to slip away from his show after calls for a boycott. While any affect of the boycott was offset by listener enthusiasm during the elections, the controversy may have caught up with Limbaugh. There are reports that the situation created serious tension between Limbaugh and Cumulus media which owns 40 radio stations.
With ratings up 6% year over year, Dr. Phil is still one of the most popular talk-show hosts on daytime television. His most recent book, "Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World," teaches readers how to deal with harmful, negative people. Never one to miss an opportunity to insert himself into a controversy, McGraw recently tweeted his support for the Boy Scouts to end their ban on gay Scouts.
Despite a drop of more than half her income since her talk show went off the air in 2012, the queen of entertainment is back in the top spot thanks to earnings from Harpo-produced TV spin-offs ("Dr. Phil," "Rachel Ray," "The Dr. Oz Show"), as well as her unparalleled access. The world's only African-American billionaire has attracted stars from Lance Armstrong to Rihanna for sit-down confessionals on her OWN network, a joint venture with Discovery Communications which looks set to turn a profit by the end of 2013. Winfrey's portfolio also includes a deal with Sirius radio network and "O: The Oprah Magazine."
With his website The Blaze, Beck has proven that there is a way to make money with news on the Internet. His site caters to a very specific demographic which is happy to pay $100 per year for access to Beck's online videos. Now the conservative talk-show host is happily taking money from Dish for the satellite company to carry his TV content. Expect wider distribution coming soon.
Stern lost in an attempt to revive his lawsuit against Sirius claiming that the satellite radio company owes him $300 million for reaching certain subscriber milestones. Sirius claims those targets were reached only because the company merged with XM. Even without those millions, Stern is well compensated. In addition to the money he gets to produce his SiriusXM show, Stern is paid a reported $15 million to serve as one of the judges on "America's Got Talent."
Since he left "American Idol," Cowell's profile in America has become more modest. But in addition to his judging work on "The X Factor," he's still a major behind-the-scenes mogul. "The X Factor" is now on in 41 countries and his "Got Talent" is the biggest-selling television franchise in the world. And then there's music: Cowell is the man behind the hit group One Direction, which formed out of the 2010 British version of "The X Factor."