Wiggles top Oz income list for fourth year

Minogue, Crowe follow on Business Review list

SYDNEY -- Children's entertainers the Wiggles are the top-earning entertainers in Australia for the fourth year running, earning AUS$45 million ($36.9 million) in 2007.

However, a strong Australian dollar ate into the Wiggles' earnings, reducing their income from the year prior by AUS$5 million ($4.1 million), according to Business Review Weekly, which unveiled its annual top 50 list of Australian entertainers Wednesday.

Indeed, the total earnings of Australia's biggest entertainment exports declined 9.9% to AUS$358 million ($293 million), largely thanks to the rise of the Australian dollar against the U.S. dollar, up to 96 cents from 82 cents a year ago.

Singer Kylie Minogue was the second-highest earner, with an income of AUS$40 million ($32.8 million), followed by actors Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, who earned AUS$36 million ($29.5 million) and AUS$25 million ($20.5 million), respectively.

Another children's group, Hi 5, rounded out the top 5 with AUS$18 million in earnings, while Cate Blanchett (AUS$14 million), Keith Urban (AUS$12.3 million), AC/DC (AUS$12 million) and "Saw" creators James Wan and Leigh Whannel (AUS$8.8 million) featured in the top 10.

Starring roles in U.S. network TV series proved lucrative for Aussie actors. Seventeen actors made the top 50 including Anthony La Paglia ("Without a Trace") at AUS$8 million, Julian McMahon ("Nip/Tuck") at AUS$6.7 million, Rachel Griffiths ("Brothers and Sisters") at AUS$2.2 million, Jesse Spencer ("House") at AUS$2.3 million, and Rose Byrne ("Damages") and Alan Dale ("Ugly Betty") at AUS$1.5 million each.

The report also said that the U.S. writers strike cut the income of several entertainers, most notably that of scribe Stuart Beattie, whose earnings fell to AUS$6.1 million during the year.

Also suffering a significant drop in income in 2007 was Nicole Kidman, who was estimated to have earned AUS$4 million last year compared with AUS$14 million the previous year.