Oprah Winfrey tops Forbes highest-paid celeb list

She gave up her daytime talk show and her new television network (OWN) may not be doing as well as she envisioned, but Oprah Winfrey still earned an estimated $165 million US in 2011-12. This puts her at the top of Forbes.com list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities for the fourth year in a row.

A number of Oprah’s Harpo productions continue to rake in the cash, including syndicated TV shows such as Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and The Dr. Oz Show. Forbes says, however, she may not remain the highest-paid celeb in coming years since earnings from syndication will no longer be taken into account in the ranking.

Oprah beat out director Michael Bay by only $5 million, thanks largely to his 3-D movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon. (The third in the Transformers series, it earned about $1.1 billion on tickets sales.) Director and producer Steven Spielberg came in third, earning about $130 million.

The most surprising celebrity to make the list? According to Forbes, this distinction goes to Dr. Dre, who came in fifth place. While the record producer regularly earns millions of dollars each year, he brought in a whopping $110 million last year.

Oprah Winfrey, $165 million.
Michael Bay, $160 million.
Steven Spielberg, $130 million.
Jerry Bruckheimer, $115 million.
Dr. Dre, $110 million.
Tyler Perry, $105 million.
Howard Stern, $95 million.
James Patterson, $94 million.
George Lucas, $90 million.
Simon Cowell, $90 million.

To estimate celebrity earnings, Forbes looks at upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements and advertising work. The magazine consults with managers, agents, lawyers and other industry insiders.

Sources: Forbes.com; CBC

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