Salary of Cable Political Commentators

by Leonard Dozier; Updated September 26, 2017

Throughout the week on cable networks such as CNN, FOX and MSNBC, political commentators share their opinions on expertise on a variety of issues ranging from elections, national and international events and matters related to each branch of the government. Top cable political commentators include Roland Martin, James Carville and Bill O' Reilly. The salary range for these commentators depends largely on reputation and what the networks are willing to pay.

Averages states that the average yearly salary for a political commentator is $34,000. However, the salary for radio and television (where cable political commentators work) political commentators is considerably higher at $51,000 yearly. This compares to the $109,000 yearly average salary of commentators listed by Though the average salary of commentators overall is higher than that of political commentators working in television, many top political commentators earn significantly higher salaries than these figures.

Top Commentators

As of 2011, top cable political commentators include Bill O' Reilly, Sarah Palin and Roland Martin. According to TV Gawker, O'Reilly earned 10 million dollars in 2010. In addition to his political commentary work, he also hosts his own cable TV show in which he provides commentary and features the commentary of others. In 2010, Fox News hired Sarah Palin to be a political commentator. Though details of her salary are not known, she signed a multiyear deal.

Politician Commentators

Commentators with strong political backgrounds (governors, presidential candidates, Congressman) often transition to careers as top cable political commentators. In addition to Palin, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee signed a deal with FOX News as a political commentator. Though no salary details were released, as noted in a March 1, 2011 CNN article, political commentators on FOX News earn large paychecks.

Commentators as Analysts

A good number of cable political commentators also serve as political analysts. David Brody, Donna Brazile, Alex Castellanos and Hilary Rosen are examples and work for CNN. As both commentators and analysts, they are expected to provide informed opinions about political topics and reseaching and examining polls, news releases and facts. Those in this role may earn a single salary or an additional salary (to their work as commentators). Analysts for major networks may earn a few hundred thousand dollars yearly. However, the average yearly salary is between $50,000 and $80,000 yearly as many commentators and analysts work for much smaller cable networks.

About the Author

Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.