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Simon Cowell, $75-million man

November 11, 2009|Reuters

Simon Cowell, the acerbic "American Idol" judge, creator of "America's Got Talent" and record producer, is the top-earning man on prime-time U.S. television with an estimated haul of $75 million, Forbes .com said on Tuesday.

Cowell, 50, beat out "The Apprentice" show host Donald Trump ($50 million) and "American Idol" presenter Ryan Seacrest ($38 million), based on estimated pre-tax earnings from June 1, 2008, to June 1, 2009.

Most of the top earners have several entertainment-related ventures, Forbes said. Cowell has his own record label, which has signed singers including Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle, in addition to his duties as a judge on "American Idol" -- the most watched TV show in the United States for seven years.

Rounding up the top five were "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen ($21 million) and "The Office" actor Steve Carell ($20 million).

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