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Ashton Kutcher Now Highest-Paid Sitcom Star With $700,000 Per Show

USMagazine, Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 12:33pm (PDT)

Ashton Kutcher is making bank!

When the 33-year-old actor steps into character as Walden Schmidt on Two and a Half Men's September 19 premiere, he'll also take on the role of TV's highest-paid sitcom star.

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According to a new TV Guide report -- featured in the magazine's August 11 issue -- Kutcher will earn approximately $700,000 per episode of the CBS hit. While his take is impressive, it's far less than that of his predecessor, Charlie Sheen, who enjoyed a payday of $1.2 million per episode of the half-hour comedy.

If you ask CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, though, Kutcher's paycheck is well deserved. "There is great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher," Tassler told reporters at a recent Television Critics Association panel. "He is an extraordinarily professional, talented, funny, gifted actor who comes with a tremendous amount of commitment and enthusiasm, embraced by an extraordinarily talented cast."

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But Kutcher's take is a far cry from that of other, lesser-known talent, who typically earn $125,000 an episode for their work on a network primetime series, according to TV Guide. Actors on a cable series can net as much as $150,000. "Times that by 22, [and] you can maintain a pretty good lifestyle based on what you were making in features but now you're not," an executive familiar with this year's salary negotiations tells the magazine.

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When this fall's new slate of programming premieres in September, some stars will come at a bargain to networks. For his new role as a CSI series regular, industry vet Ted Danson will earn $225,000 an episode, while 24 mainstay Keifer Sutherland is said to net the same for his midseason return to TV on the FOX drama Touch.

Tell Us: Does Ashton Kutcher deserve $700,000 per episode of Two and a Half Men?

By Allison Corneau for Us Weekly. For more Channel Surfing, click here.

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