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Ashton Kutcher Crowned TV’s Highest Paid Actor, Dethrones Charlie Sheen

After scooping up Charlie Sheen‘s starring berth on the hit sitcom, Ashton Kutcher has dethroned his predecessor as TV’s highest paid actor on Forbes‘s annual list. According to the publication, Kutcher pulled in an estimated $24 million between May 2011 and May 2012 — measly earnings in comparison to Sheen’s $40 million annual salary on the popular CBS show. After returning to the small screen in FX’s Anger Managementfollowing a much-publicized ouster, Sheen didn’t make top ten this year. (But Two and an Half Men Emmy winner Jon Cryer did.)

And Kutcher is bringing home the bacon from non-sitcom ventures, too. Not only does he appear in Nikon camera commercials, but Demi Moore’s ex is Silicon Valley saavy, having invested early in thriving online businesses like Skype, Spotify and Airbnb, which is now worth $1 billion, according to Forbes.

Who else lead the list of TV’s top-earning actors?

House star Hugh Laurie — who hung up his stethoscope this year after eight seasons on his hit Fox medical drama — reaped $18 million. Now that he has stepped away from television, Laurie is concentrating on his music career, which saw him top of Billboard‘s blues charts with his 2011 album Let Them Talk.

Ray Romano tied Laurie for the second spot, also bringing in $18 million despite the cancellation of his short-lived TNT show, Men of a Certain Age. Nevertheless, Romano continues to see checks fly in from syndication of his classic TV comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, and from voicing a character in animated big-screen series Ice Age.

Other runners-up included Kutcher’s Men costar Jon Cryer with $13 million; Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey with $12 million; and The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki andHow I Met Your Mother‘s Jason Segel, each with $8 million.30 Rock funnyman Alec Baldwin and NCIS star Mark Harmon weren’t far behind with $15 million. ThoughHome Improvement is long off the air, Tim Allen still scored $14 million in a year, from his new ABC sitcomLast Man Standing, re-playings of his classic sitcom and voicing Buzz Lightyear for family-favorite film seriesToy Story.

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