Richest TV Personalities in the World
There are a lot of TV and media personalities in the world — talk show hosts, game show hosts, reality TV stars and celebrity chefs. Many of them make a very good living. And some of them make ridiculous amounts of money.
These TV personalities are the richest of the rich. Their net worth may change over time, but it just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
Born: Jan. 17, 1957
Birthplace: Welch, West Virginia
Known for: "Family Feud," "The Steve Harvey Morning Show"
Net worth: $200 million
Note: Numbers are from Forbes and Celebrity Net Worth.
Bottom Line: Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey is a real rags-to-riches story.
Harvey started his career in the comedy circuit, but struggled with poverty and homelessness early in his career. He had to steal fuel from gas stations so he could drive to the next comedy gig, using an Igloo cooler for a refrigerator and lived on bologna sandwiches.
In 1985, when he was in his late 20s, Harvey was working as an insurance salesman. But not for long. He won $50 during his first standup gig and quit his job. He had two daughters at the time and a wife, but he abandoned his job to pursue his dream. His marriage eventually fell apart as the family had to live on Harvey's diminutive comedy paychecks.
But after his first big break as host of "It's Showtime at the Apollo," it was a quick rise to fame. He's been hosting his own radio show, "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," which nets him $20 million a year, and earns $10 million per year for hosting "Family Feud."
Born: Nov. 8, 1966
Birthplace: Johnstone, Scotland
Known for: "Hell's Kitchen," "Kitchen Nightmares," "MasterChef," "MasterChef Junior," "24 Hours to Hell and Back"
Net worth: $220 million
Bottom Line: Gordon Ramsay
Watch Gordon Ramsay's early work with the BBC and you'll see a passionate, somewhat foul-mouthed chef who is genuinely trying to help people and their business.
But when he made it to America, Ramsay turned his personality up to an 11 and became a sensation by screaming at contestants on "Hell's Kitchen" and raging about disgusting food on "Kitchen Nightmares." And America absolutely ate it up.
Ramsay has since become something of a pop culture icon and media personality. The guy has an incredible work ethic, too, and always seems to have multiple projects going at once.
Born: Dec. 30, 1961
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Known for: "The Sean Hannity Show"
Net worth: $250 million
Bottom Line: Sean Hannity
There's a lot of money to be made peddling conspiracy theories, and Sean Hannity has made a killing doing so.
He is one of the most recognizable public figures on television and rakes in about $40 million per year from his radio and television shows.
He also has a real estate empire of over 870 homes across several states, which is valued at $90 million.
Born: May 27, 1975
Birthplace: Clavering, Essex, England
Known for: "The Naked Chef," "Keep Cooking and Carry On,"
Net worth: $300 million
Bottom Line: Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver is much more famous in the United Kingdom, but it's not like he's unknown in America. The celebrity chef and restaurateur has had numerous television specials, including "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," a show where Oliver visited schools in the United States and taught better-eating habits.
He has authored over two dozen cookbooks and up until 2019 owned a chain of 25 restaurants, which unfortunately went under, leaving over 1,000 people jobless.
He still owns around 60 other restaurants around the world.
Born: Jan. 26, 1958
Birthplace: Metairie, Louisiana
Known for: "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Ellen"
Net worth: $370 million
Bottom Line: Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres dropped out of college after just one semester at the University of New Orleans and blazed a trail through the standup scene, becoming one of the most popular comedians in America by the mid-1980s.
She came to prominence on the 1990s sitcom "Ellen," and then went on to helm the super-successful daytime talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
But things for Ellen — or at least her reputation — haven't been easy. Following reports of Ellen's allegedly terrible behavior toward her writers, tales of bullying on her talk show and various other accusations, Ellen's show lost 400,000 viewers that following December.
Of course, she's rich enough to weather all of this. Her and her wife, "Arrested Development" star Portia di Rossi spend their time buying and flipping houses, and Ellen rakes in a salary of between $75 and $80 million per year, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Born: April 12, 1947
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana
Known for: "The Late Show with David Letterman"
Net worth: $400 million
Bottom Line: David Letterman
Dave Letterman's first job was being a stock boy at an Atlas Supermarket in Indianapolis. After attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and graduating with a broadcasting degree, he became a weatherman.
While reporting on the weather, he made it into a kind of comedy bit, at various times reporting on weather in fake cities and once saying that an incoming storm could drop hailstones "the size of canned hams."
He moved to Los Angeles in 1975, picking up writing and acting gigs. His work caught the attention of Johnny Carson, who had him on as a guest and then as a guest host. And the rest is history.
Today, Letterman is working with Netflix in "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman," where he earns about $2 million per episode.
Born: Oct. 21 1942
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Known for: "Judge Judy"
Net worth: $445 million
Bottom Line: Judy Sheindlin
You know Judy Sheindlin by her more common name, Judge Judy.
The septuagenarian has been hosting the extremely popular reality courtroom television show since 1996, spouting off one-liners like "I'm the boss, applesauce!" and "Listening ears!"
With over 5,000 episodes of "Judge Judy" having been made, Sheindlin decided to hang up her gavel in 2021. But she's not done yet. America's favorite judge is making a new show called "Judy Justice."
Oh, and she made about $100 million selling the rights to "Judge Judy" to CBS in 2017.
Ryan Seacrest (Tied)
Born: Dec. 24, 1974
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
Known for: "American Idol," "On Air with Ryan Seacrest"
Net worth: $450 million
Bottom Line: Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest developed a fondness for radio at a young age and worked at a local radio station in Atlanta before studying journalism at the University of Georgia. But rather than stick around to complete his degree, he headed out to Hollywood to pursue a career in broadcasting.
It didn't take too long. Seacrest found his first gig on television hosting a show on ESPN and then several children's shows. Most of America became aware of Seacrest as the co-host of the wildly popular "American Idol" television show in 2002, which eventually led him to a $15 million contract with Fox.
Most of Seacrest's money comes from producing television shows and other business ventures, like a line of men's skincare products called Polished.
Jay Leno (Tied)
Born: April 28, 1950
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York
Known for: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Jay Leno's Garage"
Net worth: $450 million
Bottom Line: Jay Leno
Jay Leno had a pretty fast road to success. After graduating with a degree in speech therapy in 1973 from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, Leno began his standup career and made it to "The Merv Griffin Show" just years later in 1977. That same year, he went on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" as a comic.
Thanks to Leno's tireless work ethic and early connections, he became the host of "The Tonight Show" in 1992, allowing him to buy every single ridiculously expensive car you could think of (his collection is worth $50 to $100 million).
While he gave "The Tonight Show" to Jimmy Fallon, Leno isn't close to being done working. The man still tours the country performing his standup routine and makes boatloads of cash.
Born: Sept. 1, 1950
Birthplace: Vinita, Oklahoma
Known for: "Dr. Phil"
Net worth: $460 million
Bottom Line: Phil McGraw
Phil McGraw, better known to all as Dr. Phil, grew up in the tiny northeastern Oklahoma town of Vinita, which has a population of 5,400 people as of 2019. He studied psychology at Midwestern State University, earning a bachelor's in psychology, and then went on to get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
So yes, at one point, Dr. Phil was indeed a doctor — although he stopped renewing his license in 2006. Now he's a doctor in gimmick only. But it's a successful gimmick, although not without its critics. Especially when he interviewed Shelley Duval in an hour-long special which many thought was exploitative.
At its peak, his talk show, "Dr. Phil," was earning him $88 million per year.
Born: Oct. 7, 1959
Birthplace: Lambeth, London, England
Known for: "American Idol," "The X-Factor," "America's Got Talent"
Net worth: $600 million
Bottom Line: Simon Cowell
Before Simon Cowell made his mark on American pop culture with his scathing remarks on "American Idol," he was a successful British music producer. He earned his first $1 million by convincing two British actors (Robson Green and Jerome Flynn) to release a cover song of "Unchained Melody," which became a chart-topping hit in Britain.
While in Britain, he nabbed a judging role on "Pop Idol" in 2001, a series that turned into "American Idol" in America. He then created "The X Factor," which definitely helped make him rich.
Cowell went on to judge several other talent shows and created a few more British shows, like "The Greatest Dancer."
Born: Aug. 10, 1997
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Known for: "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," Kylie Cosmetics
Net worth: $700 million
Bottom Line: Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner was once the most powerful Kardashian, but her net worth has slipped from $1 billion (which was deceptively overinflated) to $700 million. Jenner's company, Kylie Cosmetics, was "significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe," Forbes reported in a bombshell report in June 2020.
But even at that time, Jenner was believed to be worth $900 million. But the pandemic dealt a significant blow to Kylie Cosmetics, and sales have been weak, dropping Jenner's net worth to $700 million.
And that means Jenner is no longer the richest Kardashian. But you know who is?
Born: Oct. 21, 1980
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Known for: "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," sex tape
Net worth: $780 million
Bottom Line: Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian's net worth increased after she made a deal to sell 20 percent of her cosmetics company, KKW Beauty, to Coty in 2020. But like Jenner, she was briefly worth around $900 million, but weak cosmetic sales have dropped her net worth.
Kardashian is also divorcing Kanye West, but it's unclear just how much of their finances will be tangled up when the split is complete. The two signed a prenuptial agreement, and the divorce is said to be amicable, which probably means divvying up their real estate empire will be simpler than the bloodbath that typically follows a lover scorned.
According to TMZ, it's looking like Kardashian will get the main house in Hidden Hills, which is in the same neighborhood as her family. Kanye, meanwhile, has big plans for his ranch in Wyoming, where wants to create some bizarre, alien-like architecture.
Born: Dec. 12, 1930
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Known for: "Progama Silvio Santos"
Net worth: $1.3 billion
Bottom Line: Silvio Santos
You might not know who Silvio Santos is, but everyone in Brazil does. He's been hosting "Programa Silvio Santos" since 1963.
The 90-year-old media personality is also a media tycoon. He owns the second biggest network in Brazil, SBT. His holdings company, Grupo Silvio Santos, is one of the largest companies in Brazil.
It's all the more impressive considering that Santos grew up poor and worked as a street vendor.
Born: Jan. 29, 1954
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi
Known for: "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the Oprah Winfrey Network
Net worth: $2.7 billion
Bottom Line: Oprah
Oprah is the definition of a self-made billionaire. She was born into poverty and grew up in a small town in Mississippi. Her family didn't have enough money to buy her clothes so her garments were made from potato sacks.
She became pregnant at 14, but her child was born premature and died. When she was 20, she became the first Black news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV in 1974 (and she was fired on April Fools' Day). She worked her way onto being a radio talk show host, then was the head of a morning show in Chicago.
In 1986, she became the host of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." From there, she became a media mogul, creating Harpo Productions, which has a print division and co-owns the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Oprah's life story is truly something to aspire to.