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What TV stars would make in real life

  • Story Highlights
  • Dexter Morgan, a forensics expert from "Dexter," would earn $47,680 in real life
  • Walt White from "Breaking Bad" deals drugs to support his teacher's salary
  • Dr. Gina Toll from "In Treatment" would make $180,000 as a psychiatrist
  • The jingle writer in "Two and a Half Men" probably wouldn't own an oceanside villa
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By Rachel Zupek writer
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Christina Applegate, who plays Samantha on "Samantha Who?" would make approximately $145, 051.

Christina Applegate, who plays Samantha on "Samantha Who?" would make approximately $145, 051.

The guys from HBO's comedy series "Entourage" have it pretty good. Lounging by the pool every day, buying (and selling) movies, last-minute trips to Vegas, driving luxury cars, private jets with Kanye West to Cannes, France ... no big deal.

What I'd like to know is how do they afford it? Last I checked, Vincent Chase, whose character is an up-and-coming actor, was making a good chunk of money; but he's also spending a lot.

He's paying his half-brother, Emmy-nominated Johnny "Drama" to be his personal chef and trainer; he finances E's career as his manager; and as for Turtle ... well, he spends whatever money he has on illegal substances.

So how do they do it? Easy -- they're fictional characters. In real-life, money doesn't grow on trees like it seems to on Hollywood Boulevard.

Would our favorite characters' lavish lifestyles make it in on the other side of the TV screen? Here's a look at what some of this year's Emmy-nominated TV characters would make in the real world:

Dexter Morgan, "Dexter" -- Forensics expert

Real-life median salary: $47,680, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) only uses his job as a forensic blood spatter analyst as a cover for his night-time job -- as a serial killer who kills bad guys. Even though he earns a decent amount, we're pretty sure money is not his top priority -- it's getting rid of the bad guys.

Samantha Newly, "Samantha Who?" -- Vice president, real estate firm

Real-life median salary: $145, 051, according to

The "old" Samantha (Christina Applegate) was only concerned about money, cars and designer clothes, which her six-figure salary supported. But "new" Samantha has far different interests, which include becoming a better person while living -- for free -- at mom and dad's. Whichever lifestyle she continues, it's likely it won't break her bank account.

Don Draper, "Mad Men" -- Creative director, advertising agency

Real-life median salary: $41,379, according to

As a successful businessman in the 1960s, Don (Jon Hamm) would probably make less than today's median salary. Despite that, he certainly made enough to cover the expenses of his "picture-perfect" lifestyle -- featuring cigarettes and liquor, a wife and two kids, and his extramarital affairs.

Olive Snook, "Pushing Daisies" -- Waitress

Real-life median salary: $15,850, according to the BLS.

Presumably Olive (Kristin Chenowith) doesn't rake in much additional money from tips from her services at The Pie Hole, the financially-failing restaurant where she works. Something tells us she's not in it for the money -- she just wants to be near Ned, head pie maker and apple of her eye.

Alan Harper, "Two and a Half Men" -- Chiropractor

Real-life median salary: $65,890, according to the BLS.

That salary combined with free room-and-board at his brother's house on the beach, Alan (Jon Cryer) is probably doing just fine supporting himself and his son. What we can't figure out is why his brother Charlie (Charlie Scheen), a mediocre jingle writer, is the one with the Oceanside villa and not Alan, the well-to-do chiropractor.

Olivia Benson, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" -- Detective, special victims unit

Real-life median salary: $58, 260, according to the BLS.

Olivia's (Mariska Hargitay) salary as a detective in the SVU leaves a little room for personal luxury -- if she ever chooses to put herself before her job and indulge in herself a little.

Walt White, "Breaking Bad" -- High school chemistry teacher

Real-life median salary: $49, 420, according to the BLS.

Walt's (Bryan Cranston) salary as a high school chemistry teacher isn't quite enough to pay for his chemotherapy treatments; good thing he's got a drug-dealing gig on the side that brings in enough to foot his hospital bills -- and then some.

Dr. Gina Toll, "In Treatment" -- Psychotherapist

Real-life median salary: $180,000 for a psychiatrist, according to the BLS.

"A penny for your thoughts," is an understatement for Gina (Dianne Wiest). Even though she's technically retired from her position as a therapist, based on this salary, she probably secured a nice nest egg and doesn't need to charge her only client, Paul.

Ned, "Pushing Daisies" -- Head pie maker, general manager

Real-life median salary: $21,241, according

Ned (Lee Pace) probably makes a little more than this as the owner of his restaurant, which is near broke. To pad his pockets in the meantime, Ned helps a private investigator bring murder victims back from the dead to gather details to solve their murders, collecting reward money in the end. That should be enough to buy pie ingredients for a lifetime.

Christine Campbell, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" -- Owner, women's gym

Real-life median salary: $55,201 for a health and fitness supervisor, according to

As the owner of a women's gym, Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) probably makes upward of this listed salary. Whatever it is, it's certainly enough to fund her text message costs for her weekly votes to "American Idol."

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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