Jake Tapper is one of CNN’s moderators for the second Democratic Presidential Debate Tuesday night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. He will share questioning duties with Dana Bash and Don Lemon on this night, as well as Wednesday.
Tapper is the anchor of “The Lead with Jake Tapper”, which airs daily on weekdays. He also hosts State of the Union, a Sunday show on the network, and is CNN’s chief Washington correspondent.
He’s had a winding road to this point of his career, which has included stints in entertainment reporting for VH1. He’s also combined his political work with a side career as a novelist. Throughout this career trajectory, he has accrued a healthy net worth.
Here’s what you need to know about his financial life.
1. His Reported Net Worth Is Between $8-$10 Million
Tapper’s reported net worth is between $8 million to $10 million. At one point, his annual salary at CNN was over $1 million per Paradigm Search Group, but this is expected to be around $4 million at this point.
He has slowly built up that net worth through several stops in his media career. He was a freelance writer, eventually earning a spot as a Senior Writer for the Washington City Paper in the late 1990s. When he wrote there, he published a famous article about him dating Monica Lewinsky in which he described the types of dates he was able to have.
Right off, Monica was different from the standard D.C. date: not a salad-picker, she joined me in appetizers and an actual entree of her own. She had a beer or two, while I drank bourbon. She even offered to pay for her share, a fairly rare offer I rejected but appreciated.
After that, he moved onto Salon.com as a Washington correspondent before he started his television career at CNN on “Take Five.”
2. He’s Had Mixed Results in Terms of Ratings for CNN
According to Ad Week, Tapper has driven ratings for CNN, particularly with his weekday show. While it still gets outpaced by Fox and MSNBC overall, he won in key demographics in the first quarter of 2019.
The Lead with Jake Tapper drew more A25-54 viewers than MSNBC. The Tapper-led program has now outperformed MSNBC in the key demo for the third straight quarter and for 23 of the past 24 quarters. The Lead was up +2 percent in total viewers vs. last year, though it still trails its Fox News and MSNBC competition in total viewers.
Regarding individual debates, Tapper has had less success on the ratings front. According to Variety, his Republican Presidential Debate in 2016 was 30 percent lower than the previous one that aired on Fox News.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, an average audience of 11.85 million (including 3.67 million in the news demo of adults 25-54) watched the CNN Republican Debate from 9-11 p.m. ET. CNN figures to stand as Thursday’s most-watched network (cable or broadcast), but last night’s debate from Miami ranks as the second smallest of seven GOP gatherings in 2016. (It fares better on the rankings list among adults 25-54, with last night’s total third best of the year).
As seen, younger people from Generation X and Millenials consistently tune into Tapper’s programming.
3. He’s Had a Novel Appear on the New York Times Best-Sellers List
His 2018 novel “The Hellfire Club” appeared on the New York Times Best-Sellers List. Tapper joked that this still didn’t get CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker to actually read it.
“It has been on the New York Times best-seller list for four weeks, but that’s OK,” he said to Ad Week.
“The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor”, his book about U.S. troops in Afghanistan, debuted on the bestsellers list for hardback non-fiction in 2014.
He has also published works on Jesse Ventura and “Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency.”
4. Tapper is an Accomplished Cartoonist, so He Sold “Dilbert” Cartoons to Raise Money for Charity
Tapper grew up wanting to be a cartoonist. He took a side job as a cartoonist with goals towards some of the most famous names in the business.
“I wanted to be a cartoonist. I wanted to be the next Gary Trudeau,” he said to The Hill in 2016. “I must have read every Charlie Brown book until I was 10,” he said. “But I never figured out a way to make that pay the bills.”
He later would work with “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams to guest illustrate cartoons to raise money for Homes for Our Troops. According to CNN, the charity specializes in building mortgage-free, specially-designed homes for disabled veterans.
“Hopefully Scott and I can raise some money for the organization by auctioning off the original comic strips for anyone out there who appreciates the uniqueness of this venture and the worthiness of the cause,” Tapper said.
He also contributed cartoons to Roll Call, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
5. Tapper’s Wife Jennifer Marie Brown Worked in Non-Profits Before Marrying Him
At the time she first met Tapper, Jennifer Marie Brown worked in Washington, D.C. as a regional field manager for Planned Parenthood. He told Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, in that 2016 interview referenced above, that Brown was no longer working full-time. She was working part-time at an organization called Upstream, which is dedicated to making sure all women have access to birth control.
Brown shared with Washingtonian magazine in a 2015 profile that she liked to volunteer her time with AmeriCorps, helping elementary school children learn to read. She also explained that early on in her career, she had served as a social worker and now uses that experience to influence her work as an advocacy consultant.
Their daugher Alice is already an accomplished author. Her picture book “Raise Your Hand” was published in March of 2019. Alice also expressed her opinions about girls’ confidence and the new Girl Scout badge in an op-ed in the New York Times.