Talk shows may be inexpensive to produce, but when it comes to host salaries, shows that want to compete don't spare the coin. And hosts realize they can turn their star appeal and show business acumen into even more cash. So which late night hosts carry the most coin? Let's see what's in their wallet.
At No. 1 sits the king of late night, David Letterman, host of the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman has a net worth of $400 million and makes $50 million a year. Letterman's cash comes from his hosting gig, which brings in about $14 million a year, as well as income from his production company, Worldwide Pants, and real estate investments.
Though he often lands at No. 1 in rations, Tonight Show host Jay Leno sits at No. 2 with a net worth of $250 million and an annual salary of about $25 million. Leno collect his extra cash through an extensive line-up of stand-up shows across the country.
Fake news has been good to Jon Stewart. More than a decade as host of The Daily Show produces an $80 million net worth for Stewart, who makes about $16 million a year.
Once considered the future of late night for NBC, one of our favorite talk show hosts ever, Conan O'Brien, lands on basic cable with a clever, fresh show and an estimated net worth of $75 million dollars. He makes $12 million a year on TBS, but boosts his net worth through a robust production company that regularly produces critically acclaimed television product.
You can make a pretty penny pretending to be a snobby, out-of-touch right-wing conservative pundit. Just ask Rush Limbaugh. Or ask Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, whose net worth swims around $45 million. Colbert collects about a $6 million salary.
The first woman of late night - and the first woman on our late night list - Chelsea Handler is No. 6. She carries a net worth of $25 million in her purse. She makes $12 million a year for her talk show, Chelsea Lately and collects more from a series of bestsellers and an active stand-up career.
Scotland's own Craig Ferguson joins the $25 million net worth club with the income he makes from his late night show, the Late Late Show, as well as some stand-up, some acting and some writing here and there. The Late Late Show brings in $8.5 million a year for Mr. Ferguson.
Rounding out our $25 million net worth club is talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. He makes about $8 million a year for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel falls to No. 8 based on salary only.
Late Night host Jimmy Fallon is quickly becoming one of late night's greatest talk show hosts. Sure, he's got a way to go, but you can bet that he'll climb from No. 9 with a net worth of $16 million and a $5 million a year salary in the years to come.
Former MTV veejay and one of the more creative talk show hosts on late night, Carson Daly rounds out our list at No. 10 with a $15 million net worth and a $40,000 an episode contract. Daly's net worth is sure to grow, as well. Besides his late night program, Daly hosts the popular show The Voice and produces NBC's annual New Year's Eve special. He also dabbles in acting and producing.