Some lucky TV shows enjoy a successful season or two. Others are even luckier and end up with 17 seasons no matter how ridiculous the plotlines get or how low the viewership drops (we’re looking at you, Shonda Rhimes).
But the ones who end up sticking around the most are soap operas. Whoever said acting isn’t a steady job has obviously never met Susan Lucci or the late John Aniston. Sticking through with a good soap opera role turns out to be a great way to make money. Take a look and see just how much money we’re talking about and what it actually takes to make it.
Alison Sweeney | Days of Our Lives | $9 Million
"Days of Our Lives" wouldn't be the same without Alison Sweeney and her portrayal of the drama-loving Sami Brady. Sweeney's record includes more than 2,000 episodes stretched over 36 years, and she still manages to do other things as well.
She wrote books, partnered with brands, and acted in many other projects. Maybe she cracked the secret of time travel, maybe she has a secret clone, or maybe she lives in a parallel universe where a day has more than 24 hours. Those are the only reasonable explanations to her 9 million dollars' worth of success.
Catherine Bach | The Young and the Restless | $10 Million
Some of you may remember Catherine Bach as the audacious Miss Daisy Duke, who stole the show on TV’s "The Dukes of Hazzard". Others may know the actress from her latest, seven-year-long role of Anita Lawson on "The Young and the Restless".
Her prolific acting career spans more than four decades and numerous roles, all of which have banked her a $10 million net worth. Would you believe that she’s now 66? Her glow is amazing. Once she tells people her secret to looking that good, her net worth might skyrocket even more.
Erik Estrada | Two Women One Road | $4 Million
Erik Estrada, one of People magazine's “ 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World” in 1979, has had quite a unique acting career. It started out in 1970 and blew up with CHiPs in 1977 but one of the most significant chunks of it was in the telenovela "Two women, one road" (or "Dos mujeres, un camino").
Estrada was paid one million pesos for his appearance on the show. His character, Johnny, was a steamy Tijuana truck driver. It became the hottest telenovela in Latin American history and ran for more than 200 episodes despite it being initially slated for 100 and the fact that Estrada could not speak Spanish. The man has sex appeal and apparently that's enough for a $4 million net worth.
Tyler Christopher | General Hospital | $7 Million
Tyler Christopher's relationship with the soaps shares a lot of similarities with the scripted, on-screen relationships portrayed in them — on again, off again, running off into the arms of an alarmingly similar partner — it's all there and it all turned out to make him a lot of money ($7 million net worth).
Christopher's soap spell started in 1996 when he was cast on "General Hospital" as Nikolas Cassadine. He was last seen on the show in 2016, but during that time, he got to leave the show and get back on it a couple of times plus play a double character as his own doppelganger — Connor Bishop. True to his soapy self, in 2017 Christopher was cast on "Days of Our Lives" for another role that lasted 2 years.
Susan Lucci | All My Children | $60 Million
When you think of soap operas you think of Susan Lucci. Fans of "All My Children" throughout the years (and we are talking about more than 40 years!) loved to play Erica Kane, Lucci's character.
Kane turned Lucci into a soap opera legend. A legend that has made enough money to sustain a small country. She has made a living out of her ability to cry on cue and being the best soap villain out there.
Charlotte Ross | Days of Our Lives | $10 Million
Charlotte Ross's acting career began in 1986 with a small role that nobody remembers. Her next role, however, as Eve Baron Donovan on "Days of Our Lives", is something you can't easily forget. The soap aired between 1987 and 1991, and Ross was on for a total of four years and 157 episodes.
Her part in the show is one of the reasons for her $10 million net worth. The rest comes from her later roles in "NYPD Blue", "The Heights", "The 5 Mrs. Buchanans", and more. Most recently, she was seen on "Arrow" as Donna Smoak. She is 52 now and has one child to spoil with her wealth.
Shemar Moore | The Young and the Restless | $16 Million
Shemar Moore is in it for the long haul. Just ask any TV show he's been on. While TV and movie stars make a lot of money, they rarely know when they might get their next project. Moore is one of those rare actors who enjoy a steady income because he simply works on never-ending TV shows for years on end. That's how you end up with a $16 million net worth, people — listen and learn.
Many might know him as Derek Morgan from his 12-year-long stint in "Criminal Minds" which began in 2005. But his acting career started way back in 1994 when he played Malcolm Winters in the soap opera "The Young and the Restless". He played this part on and off until 2019! That’s more stable than most Hollywood relationships!
Erika Slezak | One Life to Live | $8 Million
You would expect someone with an $8 million net worth and who's been making a living as an actress since the early 1970s to have a few dozen acting credits to her name. And while Slezak has proven herself as an actress of worth, she hasn't been involved in as many projects as you'd think.
According to IMDB, the actress only has 7 credits, but all of that doesn't matter. Because her portrayal of Victoria Lord on "One Life to Live" gives her more screen-time than any other TV star out there. She played the part for 42 years (!) from 1971 to 2013 and even won six Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Steve Burton | General Hospital | $3 Million
Stephen Burton became almost synonymous with Jason Morgan, his character on "General Hospital". It is a common side effect of playing the same character for more than 10 years, which is exactly Burton's case.
He was cast as Morgan in 1991, played him until 2012, only to get poached by "The Young and the Restless" for a five-year period, and come back to "General Hospital" once again in 2017. He is still playing that part, and judging by his many awards and his $3 million net worth, he's pretty good at it too.
David Hasselhoff | The Young and the Restless | $10 Million
Blue eyes, perpetually tanned skin, and shoulders broad enough to land a helicopter on — David Hasselhoff has got it all. And when you have it all, you are bound to get snatched by a soap opera at some point.
"The Hoff" was indeed snatched by the soap opera "The Young and the Restless". He put his assets to work and played Dr. William Foster (AKA Snapper) for several years. His current net worth of $10 million can put him through actual medical school if he ever thinks about a career change.
Eric Braeden | The Young and the Restless | $25 Million
He’s written a book, done film, television, and has starred in daytime drama since he stepped foot in Genoa City, about 40 years ago, but most of you will know him simply as Victor Newman from "The Young and the Restless".
The man and his famous mustache have been on the show from 1980 to 2020, garnering a net worth of $25 million, which made him one of the highest-paid soap opera actors in America, and possibly the world.
Daniel Goddard | The Young and the Restless | $16.7 Million
Aussie actor Daniel Goddard did well when he moved to the States. He got to experience the soap scene both in his homeland on "Home and Away" and in the U.S. on "The Young and the Restless".
The latter show turned out to be the main money maker in his life (with a $16.7 million net worth that sounds like a pretty sweet deal). He participated in the show for 12 years and more than 1,000 episodes!
Peter Bergman | The Young and the Restless | $10 Million
The Genoa City of "The Young and the Restless" would be a really boring place without Jack Abbott. The man who breathed life into the character is Peter Bergman and he has done it for nearly 3,000 episodes stretched across four decades!
He first assumed the position in 1989. Since then, he won two Emmys for his role and was nominated for more than 20 of them. All that recognition comes with a side of a hefty $10 million net worth. Sounds delicious.
John Aniston | Days of Our Lives | $10 Million
The late John Aniston's main achievements in life were bringing Jennifer Aniston into this world and playing a substantial role in "Days of Our Lives". Aniston's character was named Victor Kiriakis. It was first introduced on screen in 1985.
35 years and $10 million later, Aniston was one of the most famous faces on TV during the 1980s and 1990, and he will be remembered as a pioneer of this generation.
Anthony Geary | General Hospital | $9 Million
"General Hospital" is the longest-running American soap opera. It has been running since 1963, for thousands of episodes, and it seems that every actor in Hollywood has appeared on it at least once. Anthony Geary, however, is a whole different story.
Geary has been a show staple. He played the part of Luke Spencer for thirty. seven. years. That sounds like a lifetime. During that time, people were born, people died, people got 10 different types of iPhones. Geary, apparently, used that time to earn a $9 million net worth.
Finola Hughes | General Hospital | $8 Million
Finola Hughes is a huge soap opera icon. This talented actress has been playing the role of Anna Devane in "General Hospital" for more than 30 years. The character is so engrained in the drama it's impossible to imagine the show without it.
Legendary Hughes has also had a stint on "All My Children" but the majority of her $8 million net worth came in thanks to the multiple decades she has spent as Devane.
Kristian Alfonso | Days of Our Lives | $5.5 Million
Many characters have come and gone on "Days of Our Lives", but we don't care about any of them. What we do care about is Hope Williams Brady. Kristian Alfonso has been playing the character for more than 2,500 episodes and nearly 40 years.
Playing the same character for that long sounds like a good way to either make a lot of money ($5.5 million) or develop split personalities. Good thing Alfonso's life went with the former option.
Kelly Monaco | General Hospital | $4 Million
Kelly Monaco not only has an expensive-sounding name but also the $4 million net worth to get behind it. She has done a lot to accumulate that impressive sum (modeling, acting, reality TV, and more). But she owes a large portion of it to Sam Morgan (or Sam McCall, depending on her marital status).
Sam Morgan is Monaco's character in "General Hospital" — a character she has been playing since 2003! The character and the actress have been intertwined for nearly 2,000 episodes. Comparatively, this makes her 305-episode stint in the soap opera "Port Charles" seem like the time you'd need to microwave some popcorn.
Jacqueline Jossa | EastEnders | $1.3 Million
Jacqueline Jossa is no stranger to a six-figure salary. She reportedly took home such a salary during her time playing the role of Lauren Branning in the British soap opera "EastEnders". After spending 12 years (2006-2018) playing the role, her net worth of $1.3 million built up quite nicely.
Acting isn't her only source of income, though. Other than acting, Jossa makes her living through Instagram. Much like many other modern-day celebrities, she makes a pretty penny over sponsored Instagram posts.
Michelle Keegan | Coronation Street | $3 Million
In 2008, Michelle Keegan first got to play the part of bartender Tina McIntyre in the soap opera "Coronation Street". She was 21 years old at the time. Six years and 861 episodes later, Little Michelle was all grown up and banking a yearly salary of more than 60,000 dollars.
She then went on to star in other TV shows and partner with beauty brands such as Revlon and Garnier. Now, she enjoys a net worth of $3 million. She and her husband (TV personality Mark Write) are enjoying their collaborative money in the form of a lavish mansion in Essex. Jealous? Us? No way.
Justin Hartley | Passions | $7 Million
When looking at Justin Hartley's face, you might find it familiar but have a hard time placing it, because he was a cast regular in so many TV shows ("Smallville", "Revenge", "This is Us", and more). But it seems that without his soap opera stints, a $7 million net worth would have been next to impossible for him.
Hartley and that lovely square jaw of his were actually around for longer than you think. In 2002, he got the part of Fox Crane in the soap opera "Passions". He served as the on-set heartthrob for four years and more than 400 episodes. He left the show two years before it came to an end, but joined "The Young and the Restless" in 2014 for another soap stint that lasted until 2016.
Josh Duhamel | All My Children | $20 Million
Prior to his acting career, Josh Duhamel dreamed of a football career. He ended up settling for acting, which ended up in a $20 million net worth, so he must be pretty pleased with the choice he made. His popular role of Leo in "All My Children" started in 1999 and ended in 2011, making it the longest role he's ever played.
He went on to star in the "Transformers" franchise, marrying Black Eyed Peas popstar, Stacy Ferguson, and divorcing her. Not too shabby.
Jordana Brewster | As the World Turns | $12 Million
The beautiful Jordana Brewster first erupted as an American model and actress in an episode of "All My Children" in 1995. It was quickly followed by her role in "As The World Turns", as Nikki Munson, which got her a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding teen performance in 1997.
Brewster has soap operas to thank for a substantial portion of her $12 million net worth. For the rest of it, she can thank her role in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise.
Kristoff St. John | The Young and the Restless | $6 Million
Despite his unfortunate passing in 2019, Kristoff St. John is still one of the most recognized faces on the soap screen. His most famous role is that od Neil Winters on "The Young and the Restless", which he portrayed from 1991 to 2019 and spiked his net worth to $6 million.
The role has earned him two Emmys and no less than ten NAACP Image Awards. This role, however, certainly wasn't his first soap role — that title goes to Adam Marshall, the character he played on "Generations" for 3 years.
Doug Davidson | The Young and the Restless | $4 Million
When Doug Davidson came on "The Young and the Restless" in 1978 he was 24 years old, wide-eyed, and only at the beginning of his acting career. 42 years and more than 3,000 episodes later, Davidson is still on the show as Paul Williams, but he is older, wiser, and $4 million richer.
He doesn't have many other acting credits to his name, but when he has been on the steady soap income for so long, it makes perfect sense for him not to look for other side-hustles.
Maura West | As the World Turns | $5 Million
There is just something about Maura West that makes her irresistible to soap opera casting directors. How else would you explain her soapy history? She started out as Carly Tenney in "As the World Turns", stayed on the show for several hundred episodes until it went off the air, and then went on to spend two more years on the set of "The Young and the Restless" as Diane Jenkins.
In 2013, she was cast as Ava Jerome on "General Hospital", a role which she still plays, and which brought her total net worth to $5 million. Interestingly, West was only ever involved in one acting project that wasn't a soap opera. But when her soap job gets her 13 Emmy nominations and three wins, why would she try anything else?
Jacklyn Zeman | General Hospital | $1-5 Million
Jacklyn Zeman She first came on "General Hospital" in 1977 as Bobbie Spencer. And despite taking a three-year break (from 2010 to 2013), she is still playing that role and it doesn't look like she's planning on doing anything else anytime soon.
Zeman's soap opera career has more stability than all of her romantic relationships combined. She has been married three times, and none of her marriages lasted as long as her time on the soapy screen.
Alan Halsall | Coronation Street | $890,000-$4.4 Million
Alan Halsall has been on British TV for so long he can probably name every single brand of English tea the studios have ever had in their kitchens. 22 years of starring in a successful soap opera ("Coronation Street") would do that to you. He is one of the longest-serving actors the show has ever known.
Halsall's estimated worth is anywhere between $890,000 and $4.4 million, which he spends on luxury cars, a fancy home, and A-list designer clothing.
Stephen Nichols | Days of Our Lives | $8 Million
Stephen Nichols is mostly known as Steve Johnson (AKA "Patch") from "Days of Our Lives", having done more than 1,500 episodes (!) of the show. But Nichols is a soaps staple and starred in several of the most famous soaps of the past few decades.
His major soap roles include stints on "General Hospital", "The Young and the Restless", and "Santa Barbara". The soap world simply wouldn't have been the same without him and his $8 million net worth.
Heather Locklear | Melrose Place | $25 Million
Part of the enjoyment of watching the TV shows "Spin City" and "Melrose Place" was the gorgeous actress, Heather Locklear. Even decades after her role as Sammy Jo in "Dynasty" she looks just as vibrant.
Maybe it's the Hollywood glow, maybe it's her second divorce, Maybe it's her $25 million net worth, who knows? For now, we can only enjoy her glow by watching her in her latest role as First Lady Katelynn Christian in the TV show "Too Close to Home".
Amelia Heinle | The Young and the Restless | $4 Million
Amelia Heinle got her soapy start in 1994, playing Stephanie Brewster in the soap opera "Loving". But that was by no means her last time in the bubbling cauldron that is daytime drama industry. She later got cast as Mia Saunders on "All My Children" for three years. This role was followed by her biggest one yet — 15 years and counting as Victoria Newman in "The Young and the Restless".
So far, she has acted in nearly 2,000 episodes and is not showing any signs of stopping. She won two Emmys for that role (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series ) and she keeps bringing home the big bucks with her $4 million net worth.
Kristina Wagner | General Hospital | $10 Million
Felicia Jones (AKA Felicia Scorpio or Felicia Cummings, depending on her on-screen romantic partner) has been a character on General Hospital for 37 years now. Her on-screen drama circles her relationships with Anna Devane, Robert Scorpio, Mac, and Maxie, her daughter.
Wagner has taken part in a few other acting projects, but Port Charles and its other inhabitants are the main sources of income behind her net worth of $10 million.
Joshua Morrow | The Young and the Restless | $12 Million
Long time fans of "The Young and the Restless" have literally watched Joshua Morrow grow in front of their eyes. The show saw him turning from a troubled teenager into a grown man with a wife, children, and philanthropic endeavors.
His character, Nick Newman, has also earned him quite the net worth — $12 million to be exact. If you work at the same job for 26 years, you might have a shot at such a net worth too.
Michelle Stafford | General Hospital | $15 Million
Michelle Stafford is a huge inspiration for single mothers. Not only does she raise her two kids on her own as a full-time mom, but she also maintains a full-time career as a soap opera actress. Oh, and she also the woman behind the skincare line Skin Nation.
Stafford got to play a part in two major soap operas — "General Hospital" playing the role of Nina Reeves, and "The Young and the Restless" playing the role of Phyllis Summers. Overall, she's been on more than 2,000 soap episodes and garnered a $15 million net worth.
Christel Khalil | The Young and the Restless | $1 7 Million
Christel Khalil feels right at home in the spotlight. How could she not with an acting career that started at five years old? Also, when you think about it, getting an early start in this business sometimes means you have more money than plans to spend it at a very young age.
She got her start on "The Sinbad Show", moved on to more projects, and finally landed the part of Lily Winters on "The Young and the Restless" in 2002. 18 years later, Khalil is still playing the role and enjoying the fruit of her labor in the form of a $17 million net worth.
Lauralee Bell | The Young and the Restless | $200 Million
When your parents are Will and Lee Bell, the creators of one of the most successful soap operas in the world, it's only a matter of time until you get into the family business yourself. That is just what happened with Lauralee Bell.
Lauralee first came on the show in 1985 as Christine Blair and hasn't left the show since. Sure, she's pursued other acting projects, but she knows there's no place like home, and no people like her mom and dad. Also, a $200 million net worth must be a great perk.
Kim Zimmer | Guiding Light | $6 Million
It seems that Kim Zimmer was born for the soaps. She has been on so many of them for so long that her face could be used to sell actual soap bars. She started her soapy career in 1979 with the role of Nola Dancy Aldrich on "The Doctors". She then went on to have a 108 episode long stint on "Santa Barbara", but apparently, this woman's hunger for the soaps is insatiable.
Her next soap role was that of Reva Shayne on "Guiding Light", which she played for TWENTY SIX YEARS. You'd expect that to be it for her but you'd be wrong. This role was followed by 104 more episodes on "One Life to Live". Zimmer's hard work paid off and it paid off well as she now holds a $6 million net worth.
Sharon Case | The Young and the Restless | $3 Million
Sharon Case's acting career is basically a soap opera sandwich — her first-ever acting credit, as well as her latest one, are starring roles in soap operas. When she was just 18 years old she auditioned for the part of Dawn Winthrop in "General Hospital" and played it for a year.
In the past 26 years, Case has been playing the role of Sharon Collins on "The Young and the Restless", making the role last longer than the waiting line at the DMV.
Susan Seaforth Hayes | Days of Our Lives | $5 Million
Susan Seaforth Hayes can school anyone else on this list on soap operas and acting thanks to her rich experience in the field. And when we say rich, we mean 52-years-5-million-dollars rich. Hayes started acting in 1954 and first landed in the soaps in 1964 in the black and white (!) soap opera "The Young Marrieds".
The show lasted for two years, but her career was only beginning. In 1968, Hayes was cast as Julie Williams on "Days of Our Lives", a role she still bravely plays several decades later. With all due respect to Ms. Lucci, the title of the First Lady of Soap Operas goes to a different Susan.
Maurice Benard | General Hospital | $2 Million
Maurice Benard has been on General Hospital for so long he could probably teach at any medical school by now. He first got into the shoes of Michael Corinthos (AKA Sonny) in 1993 and he hasn't taken them off since. Those must be some pretty expensive shoes to have a man with a $2 million net worth walking in them.
After you learn he's been on the show for 26, it's hard to imagine any other acting credit with his name, but you'd be surprised. He has taken part in various acting projects, and his very first acting credit goes to another soap — "All My Children" where he played Nico Kelly for three years.
Jeanne Cooper | The Young and the Restless | $8 Million
Jean Cooper has more than 100 acting credits to her name, but the most substantial one of them must be her 4-decades-long stint playing Katherine Chancellor on "The Young and the Restless", which was the final stamp on her $8 million net worth.
She was nominated for 12 Emmys and won one (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2007). She probably would have stuck with that role for longer if it wasn't for her unfortunate passing in 2013.
Gena Rowlands | Peyton Place | $10 Million
Gena Rowlands' acting career is incredible. At this point in her life, she is not only a soap opera star, but she is also a movie star and a TV star. We are here, however, to talk about her soap stint.
In the first couple of decades of her being on screen, after various TV parts including "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", she nabbed a role as socialite Adrienne Van Leyden on ABC’s Primetime soap opera, "Peyton Place". That is only one of the roles that turned her into the star she is today and her bank account into what it is today.
Kelly Ripa | All My Children | $16 Million
Kelly Ripa's first big television exposure was on the famed ABC daytime soap opera All My Children where she was cast as Hayley Vaughn. She took on the role from 1990 until 2002, which is a great amount of time to be making several million.
Ripa has always wanted to be a newscaster. So when Regis Philbin held auditions looking for Kathie Lee Gifford’s replacement, Ripa took the chance, and the rest is history.In 2014, she was named by Hollywood Reporter as one of the Most Powerful People in Media. A $16 million net worth tends to do that.
Tia Carrere | General Hospital | $6.5 Million
The world saw a singer, an actor and a model in Carrere, but she is on this list specifically for her soap opera stint. She became a household name when she starred in the long-running daytime soap opera, "General Hospital".
Her character's name was Jade Soong and she played her from 1985 to 1987. That was her first big TV role, which was followed by other great roles, a music career, and a $6.5 million net worth.
Tatyana Ali | The Young and The Restless | $6 Million
Ali’s claim to fame was as Will Smith’s young cousin, Ashley. She recurrently appeared on most of the episodes of the 90s super hit show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and was loved by thousands of fans for her portrayal of Ashley Banks from 1990 to 1996.
She continued to steadily bag roles in soap operas like "The Young and The Restless" and "Jawbreaker". But what was the one thing that Ali regretted in her career? Not being able to become a singer, despite having a gifted voice. Well, her $6 million net worth might be somewhat comforting anyway.
Lisa Rinna | Days of Our Lives | $8 Million
Lisa Rinna and her pouty lips are a soap opera staple. She is known to have played in "Melrose Place" and "Days of Our Lives". And when we say play we mean play hard. Rinna was on "Melrose Place" for two years, and on "Days of Our Lives" for — you might want to sit down for this — 26 years!
Her most recent on-screen activity is being herself in the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills". With that kind of success, it's no wonder her net worth stands at $8 million.
Eileen Davidson | The Young and the Restless |$3 Million
Davidson's most recent TV appearances were on the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills", but she was used to being in front of the camera long before that. She’s been an actress since 1982 when she landed her role as Ashley Abbott in "The Young and the Restless", her first of many soap operas.
Over the years, she appeared in the biggest soap operas on TV. She was on "Santa Barbara" (159 episodes), "The Bold and the Beautiful" (137 episodes), and "Days of Our Lives" (no less than 453 episodes!).
Deidre Hall | Days of Our Lives | $12 Million
Diedre Hall is best known for playing Dr. Marlena Evans on "Days of Our Lives". She played the role from 1977 to 1982 and then from 2000-2001, which makes you rethink the whole myth saying that acting is not a steady job. Not only is it steady, but it has also resulted in a $12 million net worth for Hall.
In 2014, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to television. Diedre has a twin sister named Andrea, who's also a soap actress and played the role of Samantha Evans’ envious twin Marlena on the show. She played the role from 1977-1982.
Mark Consuelos | All My Children | $41 Million
Mark Consuelos met Kelly Ripa, actor and co-star, and host of ‘Live! With Kelly’ on the set of "All My Children". After falling in love almost immediately, the two eloped the following year in May 1996 and played lovers on screen for twelve years.
The couple had three children together thereafter. Although the two are working parents and can often be found on different coasts, they have remained a strong unit who’s very much in love.