Published October 19. 2012 4:00AM
Ashton Kutcher is the new top dog on the TV-actors pay pile, thanks to "Two and a Half Men." And Charlie Sheen, longtime top dog, wasn't even invited to the party.
Kutcher's annual take (May 2011 to May 2012) was ballparked at $24 million by Forbes in its annual list of male thespians on the small screen, compared with Sheen's $40 million haul for the previous year. Hey, Ashton's only had one year to bargain, right? But the program's a cash cow, and it shows.
Following Kutcher were Hugh Laurie and Ray Romano, tied for second place at $18 million even though both of their shows - "House" and "Men of a Certain Age" - are off the air. Romano wasn't bringing home big bank for his "Men," but he's got lots coming in from the syndication of "Everybody Loves Raymond," plus movie voice work. And "House" was all about Laurie.
Next: Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock" and Mark Harmon of "NCIS" in another tie at $15 million a year, followed by Tim Allen at $14 million. Allen made the list for "Last Man Standing," but made the bulk of his bucks as Buzz Lightyear.
And then comes Jon Cryer, also of "Two and a Half Men," coming in at $13 million compared with Kutcher's $24 million.
Other top earners are Patrick Dempsey of "Grey's Anatomy" ($12 million), Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki of "The Big Bang Theory" ($8 million each) and Jason Segel of "How I Met Your Mother" ($8 million), who also added to his TV money with paychecks earned on film projects.