Ashton Kutcher Replaces Charlie Sheen As Highest-Paid Sitcom Star On TV

Trucker hat pioneer Ashton Kutcher has joined melancholy star Hugh Laurie as the highest-paid actor on American television — that’s the word from TV Guide.

Both stars will earn $700,000 per episode for the upcoming seasons of Two and a Half Men and House, respectively, the publication said Wednesday. Kutcher, who is replacing fired Charlie Sheen on the CBS comedy, has a deal in place, where he’ll profit further if his sitcom is a hit following its September premiere. So far, so good. Kutcher shot his debut episode of Men last week, and according to co-star Jon Cryer, “he took the roof off the place.”

However, both actors’ 2011/2012 TV salaries won’t match Simon Cowell’s package when he kicks off his new X Factor show next month; he’s expected to net a whopping $75 million per year. Also among the big TV earners: late night hosts David Letterman of Late Show fame and The Tonight Show’s Jay Leno bring in $28 million and $25 million annually, NCIS star Mark Harmon ($500,000 per episode), and Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men sidekick Jon Cryer, who brings home $600,000 per show.