Oprah Winfrey has topped this year's list of top-paid celebrities, as compiled by Forbes. She'll need to enjoy the glory while it lasts, though as it looks unlikely that she'll be able to remain there next year. According to Forbes, the revered chat-show host and shrewd businesswoman earned a staggering $165 million between May 2011 and May 2012. This is Oprah's fourth year at the top of this particular rich list but Forbes have noted that this is the last year that they'll be counting her syndication money, leaving her vulnerable to being knocked off that top spot next year.
She still has Harpo productions on the go, through which she has investments in Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show and Rachel Ray. She's also got her 'O' magazine and satellite radio station to keep the cash rolling in, as well as her Own network, though that is known to be struggling right now and is taking up a lot of her time. Second place in the list goes to the Transformers movie director Michael Bay, who managed to strike a neat merchandising deal when he signed on to direct the movies and therefore gets a share of the Transformers toys that are sold, as well as cashing in on the box office profits. Bay earned $160 million last year though again, it's expected that next year won't be quite so lucrative for the director.
Could it be down to third place Steven Spielberg to take the crown next year then? He's a steady earner - much of his $130 million earned in 2011 - 2012 was down to residual income from his classic movies (including E.T. and Jaws) as well as a steady stream of cash from Universal Studios amusement parks and his directing fees. If he has a good year next year, he could well take that top spot; it looks unlikely that Winfrey or Bay will do enough to stick around at the top.