Forbes’ most powerful: Cowell ($80 million), DeGeneres ($55m), Trump ($50m), Seacrest ($41m), Klum ($16m)

Forbes has published its list of the 100 “richest and most powerful actors, actresses and musicians,” and it includes three of American Idol‘s cast members, plus Donald Trump and Heidi Klum.

Of reality TV personalities, departing judge Simon Cowell and his $80 million a year salary are highest on the list, at #11, just behind Madonna, while the newest Idol judge, Ellen DeGeneres, is at #53 with an estimated $55 million annual salary from her talk show and other ventures.

Both are ahead of mogul and Apprentice star Donald Trump, who is at #33 with $50 million a year. Heidi Klum is the lowest-ranked of the most powerful reality TV stars, as she’s at #86 and makes about $16 million a year.

Ryan Seacrest is behind Trump at #41 with $51 million a year, and in a separate story, Forbes profiles him, noting that his “35 hours of weekly airtime” “reach 84 million people a week” and bring lots of cash: “$15 million a year from Idol” and $15 million from radio, plus $15 million from Comcast for his E! work and producing, never mind $5 million for product whoring.

The Celebrity 100 and Ryan Seacrest: The Man Without A Shtick [Forbes]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.