17. William Peterson
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ($500,000 per episode).
William Peterson played Gil Grissom, the Sherlock Holmes of CSI. Although he wasn’t the main character of the series, he has one of biggest fanbases.
When he left the series, he explained how he had become too comfortable. “You do anything for nine years, it becomes somewhat rote. I didn’t want to be on the show because they were paying me money and I liked the money. I didn’t want to be on the show because it saved me from having to go look for other jobs. Just didn’t want it. It was too safe for me at this point. So I needed to try and break that, and the way to do that, for me, is the theater.”
But it wasn’t too much of a shock to the producers or the network. Peterson had been saying he wanted to go for years, and the show already had a plan to have him written out. He has had several cameos in the following seasons after his departure, but he has made it clear he doesn’t have any plans to returning as a series regular.