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Cowell makes number three in US TV rich list

NEW YORK - 'The X-Factor' creator and 'American Idol' judge Simon Cowell has made it to number three in the Forbes rich list of TV stars, in a list headed by Oprah Winfrey.

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Cowell banked $45m in the 12 months between June 2006 and June 2007, with the latest series of 'American Idol' being another huge hit and the fourth series of ITV's talent show 'The X Factor' dominating Saturday evening's primetime ratings this year, with its opening episode pulling in an average audience of 9.5m.

However, while Cowell's reality TV riches have taken him a long way in the US, he has a long way to go if he wants to catch the queen of the couch Winfrey, who made $260m.

At number two is comedy genius Jerry Seinfeld with $60m, this is despite his long running show 'Seinfeld' having finished its run nine years ago. Endless reruns ensure that the millions continue to flow in.

Night time TV king David Letterman is at number four on $40m, beating out his rival Jay Leno who is at number six on $32m.

Billionaire and 'The Apprentice' star Donald Trump took $32m in fifth spot, with many of the other slots being filled by America's reining daytime TV hosts, including Ellen DeGeneres and the 78 year old Barbara Walters, who appears to be in her prime bringing in $12m in eighteenth place.

Cowell's on screen 'American Idol' host and E Entertainment presenter Ryan Seacrest appears at number sixteen with $14m. Reality TV makes another appearance with former supermodel and now host of 'America's Next Top Model' Tyra Banks appearing twelfth with $18m.

With six years of '24' behind him and another series on the way Kiefer Sutherland is the only actor to make an appearance. His years as Jack Bauer on Fox and Sky have paid off. He appears at No 10 in this year's list on $22m.

The Forbes TV rich list top 20
1. Oprah Winfrey $260m
2. Jerry Seinfeld $60m
3. Simon Cowell $45m
4. David Letterman $40m
5. Donald Trump $32m
6. Jay Leno $32m
7. Dr. Phil McGraw $30m
8. "Judge" Judy Sheindlin $30m
9. George Lopez $26m
10. Kiefer Sutherland $22m
11. Regis Philbin $21m
12. Tyra Banks $18m
13. Rachael Ray $16m,
14. Katie Couric $15m
15. Ellen DeGeneres $15m
16. Ryan Seacrest $14m
17. Matt Lauer $13m
18, Barbara Walters $12m
19. Diane Sawyer $12m
20. Meredith Vieira $10m

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