Kim Soo Hyun and Hyun Bin Top the 2020 Highest Paid Korean Actors in Television

This list will likely change heading into 2021 but for now we’re in 2020 so let’s take a look at who among the K-actors is leading the bankability and raking in the dough on K-drama land. Kim Soo Hyun comes back from military service and immediately resumed the top spot as the highest paid actor in television with $85,000 USD per episode and in the same level is Hyun Bin at second place who more than earned his fee at $83,900. Jo In Sung stays strong rounding out the top three with $67,100 per episode despite not having a drama in recent years. Fourth place is a surprise with So Ji Sub who commands $67,000 per episode and my baby boy Lee Seung Gi ekes into the 5th spot charging $58,000 per episode tied with Lee Min Ho and Yoo Ah In. Rounding out the rest of the top 10 is Lee Jong Seok, Song Joong Ki, and Ji Chang Wook. A newcomer to the heavyweight ranks who I expect to vault into this list next year for sure is Park Seo Joon.

Top 10 highest paid K-actors on television in 2020:

  1. Kim Soo Hyun – $85,000
  2. Hyun Bin – $83,900
  3. Jo In Sung – $67,100
  4. So Ji Sub – $67,000
  5. Lee Seung Gi – $58,700

5. Lee Min Ho – $58,700
5. Yoo Ah In – $58,700
8. Lee Jong Seok – $50,300
9. Song Joong Ki – $50,300
10. Ji Chang Wook – $42,000


Kim Soo Hyun and Hyun Bin Top the 2020 Highest Paid Korean Actors in Television — 100 Comments

    • This list is from 2012 or 2013.

      It is not reliable. Koalas is going back to time. Looks like the drama she hated, she is busy with time travel herself

      • No it is not. This list came in 2013 forst. Do ur research before u spew bs

      • Actually it was reported as early as February that indeed KSH is 2020 Korea’s highest paid actor. It was reported then that he would be receiving 200 million Won or $167,000 per episode of IONTBO. The list is not updated, but doesn’t change the fact that he is 2020 Korea’s highest paid actor.

    • Yea definitely KSH deserves every single dollar he makes. He’s absolutely phenomenal. As is Hyun Bin so I’m really glad to see him so up there.

  1. Yoo Ah In, So Ji Sub, and Lee Seung Gi well deserved. Where’s Gong Yoo at? Wait forget he get paid higher than everyone here alone with LBH.

    • @loveaholic that’s what I thought? Those two should right there in top 3 at the very least. Maybe they’re in a different list ?

      • No because this list is a couple years back that’s why Gong Yoo and LBH are not included. LBH is the highest paid Korean actor for dramas alone with Kwon Sang Woo and that’s the accurate list. Gong Yoo is on that list. Not this one. In mine opinion this is more to the oppa fans list.

  2. I expected Jo Jung Suk to be on the list, since got approx $57400 for one episode of Hospital Playlist. He voluntarily reduced his usual pay which is approx between $73000-$82000.The article is available on Soompi.

    • Its really absurd seeing comments about LMH not being able to act.
      If he wasn’t such a great actor then he wouldn’t have hit dramas and he’s obvioualy not the only handsome kdrama actor so there’s obviously no way he got that far with only looks. He’s a great actor some of y’all just can’t accept the fact that he’s good. As per the salary I don’t really know how it works but I know LMH earns more than that. That list is so outdated I’ve been seeing the same thing for years now. Update your list please.

  3. My Love from the Star revived my love for K-drama (started with Full House, Dae Jang Geum and Autumn in my Heart, then I went on hiatus for about 7-8 years). It’s amazing to think how young Kim Soo Hyun was when he starred in The Moon Embraces the Sun, followed by The Thieves, MLFTS and Secrety, Greatly.

  4. All actors have their failed projects, but in terms of the most successful one when it comes to the biggest hit in Korean, Hyun Bin is definitely the one ahead with 3 major drama Hits and few decent at the box office.

    • This actprs just dont get paid for hits or flops locally. They get paid for profit which they bring from overseas distribution and brands they put for drama. If drama makes profit ecen if it doesnt work in korea, they will get big pay from profit sharing which most aftors r discreet about. Exoect someone like ksh who is mediaplay kong of all time. Even madr an article sating he earned 81.million usd. Who is rock or tom cruise or robert downey jr lol?

      • First of all, please learn to write in English properly if you’re going to spam every comment section with your saltiness. Your gibberish is barely understandable. Autocorrect is a thing, you know? And you’re still bitter that your opppppaaaaarrrr is a flop despite having Korea’s top drama writer writing for him? Aw. C’mon, it’s been weeks. Get over it. Everyone else has already forgotten about it. That’s usually what happens when you only have a(somewhat)pretty face and no acting skills to back it up. Stop embarrassing yourself.

      • Wow u think u slayed me?seriously people on this blog r finny as hell. And i m not here to pass english test. I mafe my point crystal clear that u have to trivute ur id in my name.
        And rofl my oppar will be fine. Why do u have to use mulriple names? I know who u r.
        My oppar drama is getting released in china soon as well. He is doing way more than fine with his doube digits cfs and profutable drama despite korean not liking it.
        But ur oppa ksh the so called h8ghest paid mediaplay oppar, he is flopping with 4%. No one cares about accliam than internet edgy people. Ratings matter. Amd now dont use metflix bcoz u people said netflix dont matter
        My oppar is still hetter than flowerbasr u stan. And my oppa will get snother big project soon bcoz he brings money despite the ratings which ur fave is incapable of. Such a showpiece

  5. wow i’m shocked park seo joon is earning less than ji chang wook. i love ji chang wook but park seo joon definitely has given more well known hits than him and has a stronger presence on the movie side too. also, song joong ki is earning less than lee seung gi per episode? did the failure of arthdal bump him down a little? dots was such a huge boost for him and despite seung gi having decent ratings for his post army dramas i don’t think any of them succeeded enough to guarantee him a higher salary than sjk. is it his variety presence that puts him higher? i don’t know something about this list just seems so off to me lol

    • I’m confused about lee seungi too, he’s not as popular I think. I mean he is but not as MUCH as his pay says. Also, PSJ is well paid but JCW is one of the most paid ones bcuz I think he has more endorsements overseas too. Like he has a name in China. JCW has more brand value in terms of overall popularity, hence the pay. But still. I agree PSJ deserves to get paid more than he does to stand a spot in this list. Love him and hate how he is underrated in some places:(

  6. This list is from like 2013. Ksh got paid 200kusd per episode for okay drama. I can name 7 or 8 actors who get paid in six figures in k drama land. And senior actors who make drama comeback in lole 5 or 10 years.
    You are using this old figure? And call your blog a great source of info?
    Get updated with times

    • And people above, this list is 7 or 8 years old. Now salaries differ with overseas distribution and profit sharing. Top stars get in 6 figures because of high end distribution etc.

      • yeah this definitely feels like a dated salary report she might have to check her sources from now on there have been so many posts on this blog with wrong information with no cross checking

      • She saaid netflix rankings doesnt count as well when drama she hated moved to yearly end ranking top 15 worldwide already
        She is stuck with facebook gen.
        And then she makes this article from decade ago

    • 1. Lee Minho
      2. Kim Soo Hyun
      3. Gong yoo/hyun bin/ lee byung hun
      4. Song Joong Ki
      5. Jo In Sung
      6. Jo Jeong Suk
      7. Park Seo Joon

      This is the above 100 mil/ep league in korea.

      • Lydia i nelieve u bcoz before media reported yhat osj is not doing mount jiri, u told it here on this blog. And few days later it came our right. Mediaplaying is not good bcoz it backfires like it is backfiring with ksh okay 200k usd salary media articles with those ratings

      • I think include LJS and LSG, read that news in 2018/9, couldn’t remember.

    • whatttt?? Ksh paid 200 for its ok? Thats crazy.. wonder how much hb is paid for cloy since alhambra he was paid 100 k ish..

      • Yup he made mutilple articles on it. Mediaplay backfires when ratings dont comr as expected. Lmh hyun bin , park seo joon etc dont mediaplay their salaries

    • Because it is old list from 2013 or so.
      Gong yoo is in 6 figures.
      Next one who might move into 6 figures is park bo gun . He has moved into 80 to 90k salary these days

  7. is there a link to the source? like the other comments mention there are so many other successful high paid actors not mentioned and maybe i’m remembering it wrong but i’m pretty sure i read an article about song joong ki earning quite a large salary that does not match up with what’s mentioned here

  8. Not a fan of Gong Yoo but he is almost always there in every polls and his popularity remains steady since Train to Busan. So, it’s surprising that he’s not in the list.

    And JCW? Really? He has not churned any hit yet getting paid so much. Bankable actors like Namgoong Min and Park Seo Joon would be even more worthy. And where’s Park Bo Gum?

  9. Lee Minho is the highest paid whether fans wanna believe or not. Only difference between him and ksh is the latter’s agency using his “highest paid” status to seal his CF rates which is now a slap across their faces with the so-so ratings of his new drama. Also – KSH’s agency is co-producing the drama. Left pocket right pocket transfer of funds only. Kudos to LMH keeping mum about his performance fee for The King. Less controversy with the disappointing ratings.

    • Lydia how much lmh got paid? Bcoz u told me psj is not doing mount jiri amd that came out right.
      That is good. Ksh is mediaplay king. He claimed he earned 81 million usd im 2014 back then lol.
      Lmh has double digit cfs and w9th hallyu ban getting over, he will be going back to china soon. Not mediaplaying his salary is good thing.
      He must get from overseas sales like king made lota of profit from distribution

    • well, the only difference between KSH and LMH is that KSH can actually act. and i think that’s the most important difference seeing as they are both actors. they should at the very least, know how to act. sorry, i don’t make the rules.

      • Noone cares about acting. People care abour profit. Ksh new drama has no news of making profit and his last movie was disastwr. atleast king made profit bcoz lmh brought ocerseas sales

        He has bigger cimeback production. Ksh is mediaplay king

      • LOL. “no one cares about acting” says someone who stan an actor. the irony. imagine going up to LMH and telling him “oppa, its ok if people criticize your drama. no one cares about your acting anyway.” LOL.

      • lydia also informed psj is not doing mount jiri even before it made to news. She works as insider. He sells drama at highest rate overseas. Get over it

  10. Mediaplay from one agency. One actor on this poll has never released his figures nor his salary by his agency this is unofficial. LMH has never released his pay figure nor mediaplay on what he makes. How can this type of mediaplay be legal in SK is beyond me. In the west you can face lawsuits for misinformation if the reak people have not disclosed anything but it also depends on if the said actors don’t really care about such lowly mediaplay. they can just let it pass

    • So how does LMH get paid? In pistachio nuts? When a casting director approaches his agency and ask about his appearance fee, do they say we’re not going to tell? The numbers may vary depending on when the data is collected, but the media has access to actors appearance fees and can report on them. Such lists exists in Hollywood and all other entertainment industries around the world foo. Stop being so salty just because he’s never No.1 on these lists.

      • Why would have care about some mediaplay I am not even fan but I know that they don’t release or publish fees. The fee I saw on TKEM was 6 figures and easily highest paid actor while this is atleast 7-8 years old data. KSH himself makes 6 figures which shows you that this is indirect either way

      • There is nothing salty. Lmh runs his own agency with sister and agent. They dont want to reveal it bcoz mediaplaying backfires in case drama doesnt work.
        Yes they can say that. It is called personal choice.
        Lmh is known for his high end distribution profit bcoz high rates he commenad from overseas sales.
        He doesnt need to make such list. He brought orofit for king when it didnt work locally. Thats why he get highest dollar
        And kim soo hyun also said he earned 81 million dollars in year back in 2014. And it was mocked eveywhere
        U r the one who is salty who believe pr articles of salaries
        Media has no access. Even gisele bundchen hifhest paid supermodel madonna have called out publications like forbes for making up numbers from nowhere. So nope media doesnt get it unlike celebs want to mediaplay like kylie jenner

      • Ans btw mediaplay king ksh can keep this list to feed his ego. We minoz love lmh for keeping his privacy. Not revealing his investments salary when he scores pan asia endorsements which pays more than korean cfs. Even abefore hallyu ban he was face of 25 brands in china but never released articles like ksh about making 81.million dollars in year
        Whether u like it or not kim soo hyun is known for mediaplay like suzy etc. Whereas people lole lmh, son ye jin have stayed private anout the pay they get. Get real. Media gets what they feeded to. That is called pr. Not everyone is part of pr articles

      • Its really simple on the math and common sense really. Stake up the two productions side by side and you have your answers. One is a 30mil USD blockbuster bankrolled by Netflix. The other is a mental health drama shot on locations with minimal effects. The cast usually take up 60-70% of the production budget. The leads take the biggest chunk of the ensemble cast. LMH should bank somewhere in the region of 5mil. And no… people don’t talk about salaries. Also contracts are highly confidential so only the investors and maybe key people in production will know amount the actor gets paid. Media speculates heavy about it using the same math above but certain agencies do mediaplay them. Lee Byung Huns salary for his Mr. Sunshine got revealed as well as 200mil per ep and was all over korean media till KSH salary news took the crown. It feels like that boost was needed to help his ailing rep of being a philandering husband and his shenanigans at that time. KSH new agency probably boosted this news to create buzz for the new setup, magnify his industry relevance and to erase the last stinker of the 1* rated “Real”. Since he left Keyeast – Knetz sentiment is generally negative towards his continued association with the cousin that directed that movie. Lets see if the drama picks up or continues to tank. If it stays mediocre throughout its run, I think he should really pull a Suzy and go to an agency who picks better projects for him and abandons this wannabe cousin. She’s still not a better actress but i see Soop picking good ensemble movie projects for her and her next up drama seems to be breezy office type ones that won’t stretch her limited acting skills much. Those are good training ground to hone her skills further.

  11. Now i want to know female list.l am always surprised by their list.I have seen idol turned actresses surpassing other pure actresses & i haven’t seen actresses which deserve in that list also which is a huge surprise.Did anyone know the real source about the salary??

    • On those lists u never see son ye jin kim hye su. Too movie actresses.
      Top actresses like them, jun ji hyun, song hyekyo etc dont mediaplay their salaries at all. Whereas l8kes of suzy will claim she is paid more than son ye jin song hye kyo when she neither commands their power locally or overseas distrobution power of song hye kyo.
      Idos agencies are notorious for mediplay

      • Your last sentence: ‘idol agencies are known for mediaplay’….Suzy might have started as an idol, but now she’s more known as an actress. She is managed by Soop, the same agency that manages Gong Yoo, Jung Yumi, Gong Hyojin, Kim Jae Wook and many more top actors and actresses. Not saying Suzy is an extremely good actress, imo she’s an okay actress who is bankable. But she’s definitely not managed by an idol agency anymore.

      • @Tan Suzy is known as a CF model first, then idol/singer and lastly as a(n) (bad) actress

      • @tan she mediaplayed before joining new agency. When she claimed she is third hughest paid actress. If u thibk she gets paid more than son ye jin ,gong hye jin song hye kyo etc. Thenni cant help u
        She is not more bankable than these.

      • @ady. I didn’t say Suzy gets more than anyone else, I just said she’s bankable. I have no clue how much she’s paid, but looking at her popularity and name power, I’m not surprised if she gets paid a lot.

      • She is not bankable. Her last drama sequal got cancelled bcoz pds didnt get their money bank. And no overseas comonay pay for her name. She is no jun ji hyun overseas

    • @Ady so true yaar.there is No SYJ,KHS,or not even PSH & funnyyy thing is suzy surpassing hajiwon,songhyehyo& kim the her totally unbelievable.nothing against her,but this is totally absurd

      • @smile sachi!
        Suxy is mediaplay queen. What do u expect from some9ne who once said she gets paid more than kim yuna per cr back when she was newbie lol

  12. Pingback: Kim Soo Hyun and Hyun Bin Top the 2020 Highest Paid Korean Actors in Television - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

    • Rofl yes he needs it. U know about pr or anything? I wish he mediaplayed like ur oppar who claimed that he earned 81 million usd in a year. Worlds highest paid actor lmao. That is what u call mediaplay. I am glad lmh doesnt do it when he was even having more brands than ksh back then. Even know he has more.
      And btw i said ksh earned 200k usd . If i was salty i wouldve agreed with koalas who said he earned 83k usd i said 200k usd. So how am i salty? Ur oppar talks about hìs money for decade now. I m glad my fave doesnt do it. It is tacky

      • Lol you are obviously salty because koala did not like tkem lol. Nobody bashed LMH on here you all of sudden started bashing ksh i advise you to move the King as ended
        LMH was not even on the list of the most in demand actors votes by 41 agencys in Korea. At the end of the day the difference btw them is that ksh can actually act his 3 deasang can prove that. Oh and also have box office hits cant say the same for your oppa.

      • The real @day is back. I know from the previous post that the grammar-concious, reasonably respectful @ady was a fake one. This one is the real one. You guys will be dealt with if you ever say anything bad, even remotely, about LMH. Watch. Lol.

        LMH is alright, though. He got everything going for him. Yah, @ady? Except he’s not a very good actor. ?

      • I like h8m but not his fans!

        Lavi lmh is known aa bluechip in industry. He doesnt work for agencies and producers like ur oppas. Thats why he doesnt get botes. That is work if agents. He runs his agenci3s.
        He is higjest paid actor and getsbbest productionw. U thibk those mediaplay lists matter to him?

        Btw my oppas has hit movie in china and korea. He didnt need ten actors to give hit. Ur oppa ksh floppedbyard with his last mobie. Embarrassing flop

        He doesnt need dasaengs. He has b8gger p4oductions, endorsements than ur oppa ksh

        Learn mediaplay ot 2. If lmh wprk3d for big agencies he will be on this losts too. Too bad he is n9t some9n3s slave and runs his own agency . Not mediplay kong like ur oppa who cla9m3d that he earned 81 million usd in year. Patjetic

      • Lavinaia this list i r talking about features actors working in big producers agencies. Lmh runs his own agency. He is not someones slave like ur oppa ksh to get on this list. If he worked for agencies he would get name on listoo bad he is blue chip in industry. Thats why he got bigger comeback drmaa than ur oppa 4% and h8s name brought more profit than ur oppa
        I dont inderstand why u got all twisted when i said ksh got 200k usd per epsiodes and called koalas out. How is it ksh bashing?
        Too bad ksh is giving 2nd disastee in row. Lmh gave hit movie n won all awards. Gave hit in china but ur oppa meeded ten seniors to get hit. We all saw his last movie was disaster
        @Mindy hilarious how u always po8nt me out but i was merely stating facts. I was ganged uo. But ofc u have selective reading.
        And yes that pwrson was me. I didnt start attacking. If people gonna attack me i m not going to take crap. So take a hike with ur double standards

      • Mindy that is ur opinion. His millions of fans dont care. Hallyu ban is iver. His drama getting released in china. He will get bigger pay checks even more bcoz he brings money which ur oppas r incapable of!
        Actiñ doesnt mean shit. Profit does. Ur so called good actor is giving second flop in row

    • Yes they do mediaplay for brand deals. Do ur research. Why pr is necessaary? I wish lmh did it too. To boast about his earnings like ur oppar when he started earning millions 4 years before ur oppar.
      It backfires when his drama is doing 4%. Claiming to best paid actor with 200k usd.

  13. This comments section is just ridiculous. Is there a way to make this an English-only and no-spam zone? There’s no conversations to be had with such people and it’s stinking this whole website. I’m out.

  14. @adyjunjihyun If you hate and disagree at every articles that Koala writes, why are you even in this blog??? GET OUT FROM THIS BLOG AND GET A LIFE!!!

  15. I agree with the comments that the information in this article is wayyyyy outdated … and definitely nowhere near 2020.. Koala plz check your sources beforehand.

  16. I have nth against ksh actually.. i really wonder how is he the highest paid? His roles are always quiet, not many expressions and not many action scenes too.. pls can someone explain to me, in really confused..

    • Dont say. According to edgy people he is best thing ever. He excels at some roles but he was terrible in my love from star where jjh ate him alive and that real moblvie flop lol

    • those roles are actually the difficult ones to portray. quiet and yet you see the emotions from his eyes and from the subtle movements he makes when he’s playing his roles. actually, you don’t just see the emotions, you feel it. he makes you feel whatever the character is feeling, he just doesn’t show it. that’s how brilliant he is as an actor. but then, you’re probably not his fan and you haven’t watched any of his past dramas. because if you did, you wouldn’t even question why he’s the highest-paid actor or why people always praise his acting – and when i say people, i don’t just mean the fans, people from the entertainment industry as well – fellow actors, directors, scriptwriters, producers… proof are all the awards he got so far – even more amazing is that he hasn’t acted in a lot of dramas compared to other actors who have been active almost the same time as he is and yet he has raked in a lot of awards – with a Daesang to boot – at such a young age.

      that’s what those other fans don’t get. actors don’t just command higher pay out of nothing – they should be able to back it up with their past works, acting skills (read: awards), and how the general KOREAN viewing public favors them. why do you think he ranks #1 as the k-drama actor that most Korean industry insiders (this includes agency heads, PDs, screenwriters, network presidents) want to work with? despite him being this “expensive”?

  17. No way LMH is number 5. Further, this list is fake without Gong Yoo, Lee Byung Hun and Park Seo Joon. Better next time koala, you can’t fool us.

    • This person also said netflix doesnr matter when king is 13 in yearly world ranking and gaining over and over.
      And now using this article from ages agao

    Ady is going crazy again as usual lol. It must bother her so much that no one is dragging Kim Soo Hyun over his lower than expected ratings because the guy can actually ACT unlike her eternal chaebol, the king of posing to look good in front of the camera. But guess what? 4% range is pretty average on CABLE, but the eternal chaebol truly flopped on a PUBLIC BROADCAST CHANNEL despite being the most expensive drama this year with the biggest writer of recent years. How embarrassing.

    • ?

      Yea seriously. Ady always goes bananas when someone is ahead of her precious oppa. Except that’s been the case since MLFTS. It’s not just the pay, it’s literally the talent.

  19. This list is quite old. The new number are over 200k usd. Kim soo hyun, lee min ho, song joong ki are top 3 when it comes to highest paid. Lee byung hun is number 4.

  20. The highest is $85k per episode? That’s the highest, seriously. This data is ridiculous. Now I am questioning the age of the author of this blog.

  21. Thank goodness oppa Gong Yoo is not on the list. That means I can afford his fees. 1week of Gong Yoo in my life pls ???

  22. This list is way outdated. Oh, I’m sorry Koala but according to the Naver article titled: Exclusive] Lee Byung-Hun One-time contribution 150 million won… The staff treatment is “Evil!”,wc Lee Byungheon,Lee Jong Suk, Hyun Bin and Park Bo Gum have parts stated like this – Actor Lee Byung-hun (photo), who returned to the home theater in 9 years after taking the lead role in the cable channel tvN Saturday drama’Mr. Sunshine’ (playing Kim Eun-suk) before the first broadcast on the 7th. According to the coverage of Munhwa Ilbo, it was confirmed that the fuel for his synagogue was about 150 million. Considering the 24 trilogy, his total guarantee is about 3.6 billion won.

    Besides Lee Byung-hun, Lee Jong-suk’s drama synagogue guarantee is now between 130 million and 50 million won. . It is said in the industry that Hyun Bin and Park Bo-gum, who are scheduled to make a comeback in the second half of the year, are also worth more than 100 million won, and most Korean Wave stars are taking care of their ” golden sound” pay. July 2018.

    These actors are in a 100k figures already but in your list KSH is only $85k. I think there’s a discrepancy in your article. Mianheo

  23. Am sorry there’s some confusing in the last part – 100M Won is at least $83K according to exchange rate in google.

    So if this the case, why Bogummy isnt the list.My point is your list is outdated.

  24. Am sorry there’s some confusing in the last part – 100M Won is at least $83K according to exchange rate in google.

    So if this the case, why Bogummy isnt in the list.My point is your list is outdated.

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