Oprah still the world's best paid celebrity

Her new television network is struggling, but Oprah Winfrey's bank account is doing just fine, according to financial website Forbes.com, which has named the talk show queen as the highest paid celebrity for the fourth straight year.

The media mogul has come out on top just days after being listed as the 11th most powerful woman in the world in another survey from the same publication.

Winfrey has failed to find major success with joint venture partner Discovery Communications on the OWN network, but her ownership in syndicated TV shows such as Dr Phil, Rachael Ray, The Dr Oz Show and other media products enabled her to earn an estimated $US165 million ($159.80 million) between May 2011 and May 2012, Forbes.com said.

Close behind was movie director Michael Bay, whose action-packed adventure flick Transformers: Dark of the Moon released last year, helped him earn $US160 million based on participation in ticket and toy sales and other revenue.

Another film director, Steven Spielberg, earned $US130 million in the 12-month period covered by Forbes from his participation with TV shows like Smash and the release of the movies The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse.

Jerry Bruckheimer placed fourth with $US115 million from TV shows and films including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and behind him at No. 5 was music producer Dr Dre, who earned $US110 million based mostly on the sale of part of his stake in the Beats by Dr Dre headphone company.

Other big earners to make the Forbes countdown include director Tyler Perry and reality TV guru Simon Cowell, while the only other woman in the top 20 was Britney Spears, who placed 20th.

The top 10, in order, were:

1. TV personality Oprah Winfrey, $US165 million

2. Movie director Michael Bay $US160 million

3. Film director Steven Spielberg, $US130 million

4. TV and Film producer Jerry Bruckheimer $US115 million

5. Music producer Dr Dre, $US110 million

6. Actor and producer Tyler Perry, $US105 million

7. Radio and TV personality Howard Stern, $US95 million

8. Author James Patterson $US94 million

9. Movie producer George Lucas, $US90 million

10. Music producer and TV personality Simon Cowell, $US90 million