When it comes to the highest-paid news anchors, there is a certain trust that each of them has built with their audience. In order to become one of the richest journalists in the world, the top-paid news anchors continue to work hard to prove themselves. These are not jobs that can be obtained without having a high level of integrity and knowledge.
Of course, these qualities are only going to take a news anchor so far. They must also possess a certain willingness to go above and beyond. According to Forbes, perseverance, stamina, and grit are also necessary requirements of any great reporter. Those who possess these traits are able to reach a status that their colleagues cannot obtain.
There is no quantifiable number of years that a news anchor can put in, no level of education that can be reached that will guarantee success. News anchors who are privileged enough to make their way to a list like this one have a certain special quality that you cannot quite put your finger on. Their audiences trust them implicitly, and this provides them with a nearly unprecedented level of job security.
Now, the time has come for us to take a closer look at the 20 highest-paid anchors. Before we get down to business, we are more than happy to let you behind the curtain so that readers can better understand our methodology.
How Did We Curate this List of Highest Paid News Anchors?
- A Painstaking Research Process
When it comes to a list of this nature, nothing can be left to chance. In order to make sure that we had access to the best information possible, we turned to reputable sources, such as USA Today, Celebrity Net Worth, NBC News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo News, and Yahoo Finance.
- Double Checking
Each piece of information that is being shared in this list has been looked over multiple times before being shared with our readers.
- Variation Disclaimers
Since there is no way to have direct access to any of these news anchors’ financial portfolios, there is a certain amount of variation that may take place when it comes to the actual numbers that are being reported. We have done as much research as possible in order to provide the most factual information available.
The Highest Paid News Anchors + Their Net Worth
These are the news anchors who have been able to combine all of the aforementioned qualities and rise to the top of their field. These top-paid news anchors speak to a wide range of audiences, underscoring the importance of remaining knowledgeable and trustworthy in their chosen area of expertise.
20. David Gregory – $12 million
Since 2016, David Gregory has served as a political analyst for CNN. Before that, he hosted ABC’s Sunday morning news program “Meet the Press”.
David Gregory has a net worth of $12 million and earned $4 million last year. Born in 1970 in Los Angeles, Journalism appealed to Gregory at an early age.
He began working as a television reporter in Arizona at the age of 18. Gregory graduated from American University in Washington DC in 1992 majoring in International Studies.
While there he worked for the campus radio station. He began his career working at the NBC affiliate in Sacramento, California. Gregory started at NBC co-anchoring news shows on CNBC and then as the substitute co-anchor for Lester Holt on “Weekend Today” in 2003.
From 2005 through 2014, Gregory was a substitute for Matt Lauer on the “Today Show” and as a fill-in anchor for “NBC Nightly News” and “Weekend Nightly News. In 2008 Gregory began serving as the moderator on “Meet the Press”. David Gregory and his wife Beth Wilkinson, a former Federal Prosecutor, have 3 children.
19. Lawrence O’Donnell – $16 million
Lawrence O’Donnell is the host of “The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell” on CNBC. He has a net worth of $16 million and reportedly earns $5 million a year. O’Donnell was born in Boston in 1951.
O’Donnell studied economics at Harvard University. He published his first book “Deadly Force” in 1983. He served as a Senate legislative aide from 1989 through 1995 and then as a senior aide to Senator Moynihan.
O’Donnell worked as a writer for “The West Wing”. He joined MSNBC in 2009 as a regular contributor to “Morning Joe”. He began his own show in 2010. Before getting his own show on the cable network, O’Donnell frequently filled in as host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.
18. Bret Baier – $16 million
Bret Baier is the host of Fox’s “Special Report with Bret Baier”. His net worth is $16 million and his annual salary is $7 million. Baier was born in New Jersey in 1970.
He graduated from DePauw University with a degree in Political Science and English. He worked in news radio before joining CBS and NBC affiliates in North Carolina.
Baier became Chief Correspondent of the White House and the Pentagon for Fox Network. He replaced Brit Hume as Fox’s host of “Special Report in 2009. Baier has been to Afghanistan and Iraq several times as a war reporter. Baier and his wife Amy have 2 sons.
17. Scott Pelley – $18 million
Scott Pelley has a net worth of $18 million. As a correspondent for CBS’s long-running news magazine program “60 Minutes”, Pelley earns $7 million a year. He is the most awarded correspondent in the history of the show, with 40 national Emmy Awards to his name.
Scott Kelley was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1957. He studied Journalism at Texas Tech University. He began his career in news radio in Texas.
A report on Guatemalan refugees in 1985 got Pelley noticed by CBS. He was hired by CBS News in New York City in 1989. From 1997 through 1999 Pelley served as CBS’s Chief White House Correspondent. From there, he started working on the newly revamped “60 Minutes II”.
He interviewed President-elect George W. Bush in 2000 and was the only one to interview President George W. Bush on the first anniversary of the tragedies of September 11, 2001.
Pelley took over as anchor and managing editor of “CBS Evening News” after Katie Couric 2011. Scott Pelley is married to Jane Boone, a television correspondent. They have a son and daughter.
16. Erin Burnett – $20 million
Burnett studied political science and economy at Williams College in Massachusetts. She was a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs and began working for CNN as a booker and writer for programs including “Moneyline” and “Lou Dobbs”.
Erin then served as vice president of CitiMedia. Erin Burnett worked for CNBC before returning to CNN in 2011 where she has her own prime-time news program. Burnett is married to David Rubulotta, a finance executive. They have a son and daughter.
15. Maria Bartiromo – $22 million
Maria Bartiromo has a net worth of $22 million. She currently makes $6 million a year for her financial news program “Mornings with Maria” on FBN daily from 6 am to 9 am.
Bartiromo is a journalist and magazine columnist and has written three books. Bartiromo was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1967. She studied Journalism and Economics at New York University.
She became an assignment editor for CNN Business News in 1993 and co-anchored “Closing Bell” for CNBC. Bartiromo was the first reporter to broadcast from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
She has won several journalism awards. Maria Bartiromo has been married to Jonathan Steinberg, an investment banker, since 1999.
14. Joe Scarborough – $25 million
Joe Scarborough is the co-anchor of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with Mika Brzezinski. He has worked as a lawyer and politician and served in the US House of Representatives from 1995 through 2001.
Scarborough has a net worth of $25 million and an annual salary of $8 million. He is also a visiting fellow at Harvard Institute of Politics. Scarborough was born in 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia.
He graduated from the University of Florida College of Law and worked as an attorney before election to Congress. In 2003 Scarborough joined MSNBC hosting “Scarborough Country”.
He began hosting “Morning Joe” in 2007. Scarborough has four children and is twice divorced. This year he became engaged to his co-host Mika Brzezinski.
13. Shepard Smith – $30 million
Shepard Smith is the former host of Fox News’ “Shepherd Smith Reporting” and once served as the managing editor of the channel’s Breaking News Division. Shephard Smith has a net worth of $25 million and was earning $10 million a year. After his departure from Fox, he hosted CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith, a prime time general news program that aired on weekdays at 7:00 p.m. EST, running from September 30, 2020 to November 2022.
In a 2003 “TV Guide” poll Smith tied for second with Dan Rather and Peter Jennings as the most trusted news anchor. Smith was born in Mississippi in 1964.
He studied Journalism at the University of Mississippi and worked in news radio and local television in Florida. He was hired as a Fox News Edge correspondent in Los Angeles and worked for “A Current Affair”.
As a Fox News correspondent, Smith covered big news including Princess Dianna’s death, the Florida ballot controversy and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Smith hosted “Fox Report with Shephard Smith” and “Studio B” before anchoring his current news show. Smith is divorced and has no children. His plan for the next stage of his career is currently unknown.
12. Tucker Carlson – $30 million
Carlson is best known for hosting “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News from 2016 to 2023. He made the jump to Fox after working for CNN from 2000 to 2005 and MSNBC from 2005 to 2008.
He is also a published author and columnist who co-founded The Daily Caller website. Despite his decision to opt out of the $25 million guaranteed that he was still owed on his Fox contract, his net worth remains at $30 million. At the height of his Fox News fame, he also inked a book deal that was worth a reported $15 million, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Carlson was born in San Francisco and was primarily raised in Southern California. He graduated with a degree in history from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1991. Since his departure from Fox, he has opted to work independently, partnering with Twitter (since renamed X) to start his own news show.
11. Rachel Maddow – $35 million
Rachel Maddow is the host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and co-hosts MSNBC’s news program with Brian Williams. She also hosts a syndicated talk radio program. Her net worth has climbed to $35 million and she draws an annual salary of $30 million per year.
Maddow was born in California in 1973 and attended Stanford University. She received her Doctorate at Oxford University. Maddow joined MSNBC in 2009.
She was a panelist on Tucker Carlson’s show “Tucker” and subbed for Keith Oberman and David Gregory. Maddow has written two books. She has been admired for presenting news with civility and persistence. Maddow lives in Massachusetts and New York City.
10. George Stephanopoulos – $35 million
George Stephanopoulos has a net worth of $35 million and earns $9 million a year as the co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America”. He is also a regional sub-anchor for “ABC World News Tonight”.
Stephanopoulos was born in Massachusetts in 1961 and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied Political Science at Columbia University where he worked as a sports broadcaster for the college radio station. Stephanopoulos also has a Masters in Theology and studied at Oxford University as a Rhoads Scholar.
He worked on the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis in 1988 and became an advisor to the Democratic Party. Under President Bill Clinton, Stephanopoulos worked as the White House Communications Director.
He was also the Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy and a member of the Council on Foreign Policy. Stephanopoulos hosted “ABC This Week” from 2002 until 2009.
9. Robin Roberts – $35 million
Robin Roberts is the wealthiest female news anchor. Her net worth is $35 million and she earns $18 million a year as co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America”.
Roberts was born in Alabama and grew up in Mississippi. She played basketball and tennis in high school and went to Southern Louisiana University.
Roberts worked as a sports anchor on local news and radio programs. In 1990 she joined ESPN as a sportscaster. She left ESPN in 2005 and joined “Good Morning America” which she helped boost in ratings.
Roberts was sidelined by breast cancer in 2007 and myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012. She bravely documented her treatment and recovery for “Good Morning America”.
8. Laura Ingraham – $40 million
Laura Ingraham works at a radio host and political pundit. She is also a best-selling author and her net worth currently stands at $40 million, with a $15 million annual salary for her hosting and correspondence work on Fox News.
While Ingragam got her start in the world of politics, she was soon drawn to news and before long, she earned the opportunity to host her own show. Ingraham is also well known for having a background in the legal field.
She grew up in Glastonbury, Connecticut and after graduating from high school in 1981, she attended the prestigious Dartmouth College. Ingraham graduated with a B.A. from the Ivy League university, writing for and managing the Dartmouth Review newspaper during her tenure. She got her start working for the Reagan administration as a speechwriter.
Ingraham also worked as an editor for The Prospect during this time, earning additional stripes in news. She then returned to school, graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991 after earning her Juris Doctor. Ingraham then worked as a law clerk in the US Court of Appeals. From there, she rose to the rank of clerk in the US Supreme Court.
After getting started in cable news with MSNBC in 1996 and having a stint with CBS, Ingraham eventually found her way to Fox in 2008. The Ingraham Angle has since become one of the most-watched cable news programs in the country.
7. Megyn Kelly – $45 million
Megyn Kelly is one of the highest-paid newswomen in the industry. Her net worth is $45 million, with an annual salary of $23 million. These numbers have continued to grow since she made the jump to Sirius XM. Megyn Kelly reportedly signed a contract with NBC for $18 million a year before striking out on her own. When she severed ties with the network, she received a $30 million payout for the remainder of her contract, according to NBC News.
Kelly was born in Illinois in 1970. She received her Masters in Communication from Syracuse University and her law degree from Albany University.
She worked as an associate in a Chicago law firm before pursuing a journalism career. In 2003 Kelly became a reporter for an ABC affiliate in Washington DC. She began working for Fox News the following year. Megyn Kelly contributed to legal segments on “Special Report with Brit Hume” and “The Bill O’Reilly Factor”.
She filled in for Greta Van Susteren in “On the Record”. In 2010 Kelly hosted “America Live” and was a guest panelist on “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld”. She was a moderator during the past presidential debates. In 2016 Kelly hosted a prime time interview program for Fox.
With her contract up, Megyn Kelly switched networks to NBC. She hosted Sunday night interview specials including one with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She now heads up her own independent media company called Devil May Care, per Variety. Kelly is married to Doug Brint and they have 3 children.
6. Brian Williams – $50 million
Brian Williams was the Chief Anchor for the cable news department of MSNBC. He hosted the nightly “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” for the news station. His net worth has now reached $50 million, with an annual salary of $6 million.
Williams was managing editor and anchored “NBC Nightly News” for 10 years from 2004 through 2014. Brian was suspended from NBC when it was found that he had fabricated stories about when he covered the Iraq War in 2003.
He was born in New Jersey in 1959. Williams studied at George Washington University and The Catholic university of America. He worked in radio news in Kansas, Washington DC and Philadelphia before joining NBC in 1993.
After departing from NBCUniversal, Williams hired the powerful agency CAA to assist him in planning the next stage of his career, per Variety. He stepped away from his post at MSNBC, warning viewers of “the darkness at the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar and the bowling alley, at the school board and the grocery store, and it must be acknowledged and answered for.”
5. Anderson Cooper – $50 million
Anderson Cooper’s current net worth stands at $50 million, with an annual salary of $12 million per year, according to Yahoo Finance. Of course it helps to be the son of an heiress. Cooper’s mother is heiress and designer Gloria Vanderbilt.
Cooper didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth however. Anderson Cooper was born in New York City in 1967. His father died of a heart attack during open-heart surgery in 1978.
His older brother committed suicide in 1988. Anderson became driven. Before pursuing journalism, Anderson worked as a teen model with Fords working with Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Macy’s.
He went to Yale University and interned with the CIA. He lived in Vietnam for a year and he worked as a fact checker. In 1995 Anderson became a news correspondent for ABC and in 2001 began working for CNN.
Cooper started his nightly news program Anderson Cooper 360° in 2003. He goes on location for breaking news and covers political issues. He had a syndicated radio show from 2011 to 2013.
In 2007 he hosted “An All-Star Tribute” and “Planets in Peril”. Cooper also began working as a correspondent for “60 Minutes”. In 2010 Anderson Cooper hosted “Anderson Live”. He continues to work for CNN, in a wide range of roles.
4. Matt Lauer – $80 million *
Matt Lauer’s net worth currently sits at $80 million. The former co-anchor of NBC’s “Today Show” earned $23 million a year at the height of his fame. He has since retired from public life but is said to be mulling a comeback, according to Yahoo News. Matt Lauer was born in New York City in 1957 and studied Communication and Media Arts at Ohio University.
Lauer began his media career as a producer of the local news show in Huntington, West Virginia. He hosted shows in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. He cohosted “Made in New York” with Jill Rappaport, worked as ESPN and co-hosted “Today in New York” with Jane Hanson.
Lauer began working as a news reader on “Today” in 1994 and became co-anchor of the morning news program in 1997 when he replaced Bryant Gumbel. When he became the full time male co-host of the “Today Show”, Lauer was admired for his tense interviews, intelligence and good looks.
He introduced “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” in 1998 and the special series ran until 2011. Matt Lauer also hosted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and covered the Olympics for NBC.
Additionally, Lauer was a contributor to NBC’s weekly news show “Dateline”. After Lauer’s controversy, divorce, and ousting from NBC we cannot put a clear number on his net worth at this time.
3. Diane Sawyer Net Worth - $80 million
Diane Sawyer is one of the most well-known news anchors in the world and the richest female journalist. She has had a steady and successful career. Her net worth is $80 million, with an annual salary of $22 million.
Diane was born in Kentucky in 1945. In 1963 she won the America’s Junior Miss Scholarship pageant. She graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and entered law school at the University of Louisville but left to pursue Journalism.
Her media career began as a weather forecaster at the local Louisville television station. She moved to Washington DC and secured a job as the assistant to Jerry Warran, the White House Deputy Press Secretary.
She worked with the Nixon-Ford transition team after President Richard Nixon’s resignation. In 1978 Sawyer began working for CBS News as a reporter. Within a couple years, Sawyer co-anchored the “CBS Early Morning News”.
She became the first female correspondent for “60 Minutes” in 1984 and moved to ABC News in 1989 as co-anchor with Sam Donaldson on “Primetime Live”. She co-anchored “20/20” from 1998 through 2000.
The previous year Sawyer became co-anchor of “Good Morning America with Charles Gibson. Sawyer began anchoring “ABC World News” in 2009. Since 2014 Diane Sawyer has conducted high-profile interviews and specials for ABC. She is married to director, producer and actor Mike Nichols.
2. Bill O’Reilly – $85 million
Bill O’Reilly, the former conservative political commentator for Fox, has a net worth of $85 million. He earned $20 million a year for his show “The O’Reilly Factor” which aired on Fox from 1996 until recently. His current annual salary is $25 million, as he has successfully launched his own podcast, No Spin Zone. It is currently being simulcast on Newsmax and The First TV.
It was recently revealed that O’Reilly settled several sexual harassment allegations, one for $32 million. It is unclear as yet if O’Reilly has a future as a journalist. Bill O’Reilly was born in New York City in 1949 and worked early on as a news reporter for local television stations and as a reporter for ABC and NBC News.
From 1989 through 1995 O’Reilly hosted the entertainment show “Inside Edition”. “The O’Reilly Factor” was the highest-rated cable news show for 16 years. O’Reilly was married to Maureen McPhilmy from 1996 until 2011. The couple has a daughter and a son.
1. Sean Hannity – $250 million
Sean Hannity is the wealthiest news anchor. Per Yahoo Finance, his net worth is currently $250 million and he earns $45 million a year as an anchor and political commentator for the Fox News Channel weekdays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and hosts the nationally syndicated “Sean Hannity Show” on radio.
Hannity was born in New York City in 1961. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hannity hosted a talk show for the college radio station.
He worked in news in Alabama and Atlanta before he was hired by Fox News Channel to cohost “Hannity & Comles”, a point-counterpoint show with Alan Colmes.
Hannity is known for his conspiracy theories including voter fraud, an AIDS cover-up, President Barack Obama’s birth issue and Hillary Rodman Clinton’s e-mail saga.
Sean Hannity is best known for his current pro President Donald Trump coverage. Hannity is married to Jill Rhoads. They have two children and live in Long Island, New York.
Why Are News Anchors So Well-Paid?
All news anchor salaries are not created equally. For starters, the salary that a news anchor is paid will depend on the size of their market. A national news anchor will retain an agent who assists them in negotiating a more sizable contract, while a rural anchor earns a relatively set amount that is not far above minimum wage.“
Often, the salary a newscaster earns is based upon the size of the market the newscaster works in, paired with experience and popularity, which is tabulated via television ratings. As such, a news anchor salary or reporter salary is generally determined by market size and corresponding advertising rates,” says Chron’s Lisa McQuerrey.
The size of the news anchor’s market, their level of experience and their overall likability all come together to play a key role in their level of compensation. This list runs the political gamut from liberal to conservative but they are all tied together by the same common threads.
Each of these anchors has put in the time and effort necessary to build a massive level of trust with their target audience. The highest-paid news anchors do not become the richest journalists in the world by happenstance.
The top paid news anchors are those who are able to navigate to the largest markets, amass the necessary experience and continue to build a high level of equity with their audiences. As the media landscape continues to shift, we fully expect the names on this list to amass even more wealth and influence.
According to The Hill, Tucker Carlson received the most votes in a recent Gallup poll that asked respondents about the one public individual they watch or follow the most to get information. He received 113 mentions, with Rachel Maddow ranking a close second at 107.
In a word, yes. News anchors often work unpredictable hours and will often be tasked with deadlines that have to be met quickly.
The answer will depend on the network that the anchor works at. In most instances, an 8 hour shift is customary, though. For example, morning news anchor may need to arrive by 2 AM but will often be home before noon.
According to Zippia, the average of TV anchors is 40.
Anderson Cooper is the highest-paid CNN anchor, with an annual salary of $12 million.
Sean Hannity is the highest-paid Fox News anchor, with an annual salary of $45 million.
Laura Ingraham is the highest-paid female Fox News anchor, with an annual salary of $15 million, according to Yahoo.
Lester Holt is the highest-paid news anchor in Chicago, with an annual salary of $7 million.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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