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Oprah earns £128m to lead TV earnings

Oprah Winfrey, the most famous chat show host in the world, is the highest paid personality on television, earning four times that of her nearest rival, according to a list provided by the financial magazine Forbes.

The hugely popular, long-time presenter raked in $260m (£128m) between June 2006 and June 2007, according to the list.

Ms Winfrey, who recently hosted a fundraiser for the Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama, is a regular feature in Forbes and topped its list of the world's most powerful celebrities in June. With 30 million viewers per week, Oprah is easily the most popular show in the US.

Simon Cowell, the judge of American Idol, who crossed the Atlantic to abuse US singing hopefuls and boost his already handsome income, came third after the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Next up is another long-running chat show host, David Letterman.

Below him are the businessman Donald Trump, who played boss in the American version of The Apprentice, and Jay Leno.

Down at 10th place is Keifer Sutherland, the Canadian actor who plays special agent Jack Bauer in 24, the sixth season of which is out on DVD in the UK on Monday.

Cowell, the only Brit on the list, is currently estimated to be worth more than £100m, according to The Sunday Times Rich List published in April.

The top 10

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)

June 2006-June 2007. Source: Forbes magazine