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Lady O in the money

Talk might be cheap, but Oprah is not.

Topping a list of the highest-paid television stars in the U.S. is Oprah Winfrey, host and supervising producer of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” who earns an estimated $260 million a year, notes the Hollywood Reporter, citing a list in TV Guide’s July 23 issue.

Music producer Simon Cowell, the blunt and often contentious British judge of “American Idol,” placed a distant second to Winfrey, with $45 million for his role on Fox’s smash hit talent show and other projects.

Courtroom chief Judge Judy (Judith Sheindlin), CBS News anchor Katie Couric and “Scrubs” actor Zach Braff round out the top five.

The following partial list breaks down star salaries by category — prime time TV, daytime, cable and news:

Top five (salaries per year)

Oprah Winfrey (“The Oprah Winfrey Show”): $260 million

Simon Cowell (“American Idol”): $45 million

Judge Sheindlin (“Judge Judy”): $30 million

Katie Couric (anchor, “The CBS Evening News”): $15 million

Zach Braff (“Scrubs”): $6.3 million

Network prime time (salaries per episode)

William Petersen (“CSI”): $500,000

Charlie Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”): $350,000

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