You can buy a lot of chest-hair-baring T-shirts with $75 million. Forbes magazine estimates that "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell pulls down that much loot every year, making him the top-earning man in prime time in the U.S.
That haul easily put him ahead of the #2 gentleman on the list, "The Apprentice" host Donald Trump ($50 million), not to mention Cowell's frequent verbal sparring partner, the second-hardest-working-man-in-show- business, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who rounds out the top three at $38 million. The calculations are based on estimated pre-tax earnings from June 1, 2008 to June 1, 2009.
Like Cowell — who also has a record label and several other TV hosting gigs and has shepherded the careers of singers like Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis — many of the men on the list do more than hosting/starring in the programs they are best known for. Seacrest, for instance, has a radio show, hosts "American Top 40," produces "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "Denise Richards: It's Complicated" and hosts a number of other major entertainment events.
The rest of the top 10 (all figures estimated) includes "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen ($21 million), whose show continues to be the #1-rated comedy in the nation; "The Office" star Steve Carell ($20 million), whose take is a combination of his TV and movie revenue; "Deal or No Deal" host Howie Mandel ($15 million); "24" star Kiefer Sutherland ($13 million); "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" host Jeff Foxworthy ($11 million); "House" star Hugh Laurie ($10 million) and "CSI: Miami" star David Caruso ($9 million).