Instead of memorizing lines and following a script, reality television stars captivate audiences just by being themselves. Whether they’re participating in competitions or simply letting cameras into their homes, they’re paid to live their lives.
Some reality stars quickly fade into oblivion, while others — like the Kardashians — seem to grow their fame and fortune on a daily basis. Click through to see how much your favorite stars are paid to be on camera.
‘The Real Housewives’ Salaries
A show allowing viewers to live vicariously through its glamorous stars, “The Real Housewives” is paying out salaries that make its already-affluent casts even richer.
The franchise has several different casts — Beverly Hills, Calif., Orange County, Calif., New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas and Potomac, Md. — united by the common bonds of beauty and wealth.
Many cast members come and go, but Bravo pays fan favorites dearly to stay put. Forbes estimates that “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Bethenny Frankel’s salary is more than $1 million per season. And Us Weekly claims “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump’s salary is also seven figures per season. “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kandi Burruss’ salary is $1.8 million per season, according to BET.
‘Dancing With the Stars’ Salaries
Contestants on “Dancing With the Stars” endure a rough training schedule to perform a new dance in the ballroom each week. But they’re paid handsomely for their efforts and many of them have sky-high net worths.
In 2016, TMZ shared the details of U.S. Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s salary for the show, revealing that the season 23 winner received a base rate of $125,000 just for showing up. The longer she lasted in the competition, the more she earned.
Hernandez collected $10,000 each for weeks three and four, $15,000 for week five, $20,000 per week for weeks six and seven, $30,000 per week for weeks eight and nine and $50,000 per week for weeks 10 and 11. Since she won the Mirrorball Trophy, this brought her “Dancing With the Stars” salary to a grand total of $360,000.
‘American Idol’ Salaries
Fox’s longtime singing competition went off the air in 2016, but ABC bought the rights to “American Idol,” so it will be back for the 2017-2018 season. Ryan Seacrest is returning as host of the popular singing show and will be paid $12 million, according to Variety. Katy Perry will serve as one of the judges and will reportedly make $25 million for her seat on the panel. She is rumored to be joined by Lionel Richie, Luke Byran or Charlie Puth.
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People magazine confirmed in late July Seacrest nabbed a multi-year deal worth $10 million. TMZ reported Perry’s salary is rumored at $25 million. Richie’s salary is estimated at $3 million to $5 million, while Sixx’s salary is believed to be the lowest.
‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ Salaries
The hit E! reality series made the Kardashians famous, and also very rich. In 2015, TMZ reported the family’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” salaries at the time was a combined total of $80 million for three more seasons, with an option for a fourth.
This includes the hit series and all other work the family does for the network. It's worth noting that this deal only covers select family members, as Scott Disick, Rob Kardashian and Caitlyn Jenner were not included.
‘I Am Cait’ Salaries
The E! docuseries “I Am Cait” chronicled Caitlyn Jenner’s life since transitioning. The TV personality, who was previously known as Olympic gold medalist — and Kardashian patriarch — Bruce Jenner, starred on the series for just two seasons before it was canceled. Jenner’s salary wasn’t revealed, but Forbes estimates it was in the millions.
‘Celebrity Apprentice’ & ‘The Apprentice’ Salaries
“Celebrity Apprentice” cast members — some who are very rich — competes for their charity of choice. In 2017, “American Ninja Warrior” host Matt Iseman raised $573,329 for the Arthritis Foundation after winning season 15 of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Runner-up Boy George raised $445,925 for Safe Kids Worldwide.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s salary of roughly $7 million went straight to his pocket. The long-time host of both “Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Apprentice” was fired in 2015. However, in election filings, Trump claimed he earned more than $213 million for the first 14 seasons of “The Apprentice.”
‘Duck Dynasty’ Salaries
Known for their long beards and booming Duck Commander business, the Robertson family members signed off of “Duck Dynasty” for good in 2017, but not before cashing in. The show debuted in 2012 and lasted for 11 seasons, which included a salary standoff between the Robertsons and A&E.
In 2013, the family reached a new contract with A&E that paid all 20 cast members — nine adults and 11 kids — a total of $200,000 per episode, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The deal quadrupled their “Duck Dynasty” salaries from the first three seasons and gave the network the option to green light several additional seasons.
‘Jersey Shore’ Salaries
From 2009 to 2012, the “Jersey Shore” cast entertained MTV audiences with their outrageous party antics and "gym, tan, laundry" routine. The cast earned no salary for season one, according to the New York Post, but after the show became a smash success, Entertainment Weekly reported that the stars secured $10,000 per episode for season two.
By season five, the “Jersey Shore” salaries ballooned to six figures per episode — likely hovering around $100,000, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The salaries of the show’s biggest stars — Snooki, The Situation and Pauly D — totaled $2.5 million each for the sixth and final season, according to the New York Post.
‘The Hills’ Salaries
Starring Lauren Conrad, “The Hills” served as a follow-up to the hit MTV series “Laguna Beach.” Running for six seasons — from 2006 to 2010 — it followed her glamorous, post-high school life in Los Angeles, with an equally chic group of friends.
Conrad’s salary was $125,000 per episode — $2.5 million per year — when she left “The Hills” halfway through its fifth season, according to the Huffington Post. She was the top-earner, but cast members Audrina Patridge, Lauren ‘Lo’ Bosworth and Heidi Montag were close on her heels, with salaries of $100,000 per episode. Kristin Cavallari’s salary was $90,000 per episode, while Spencer Pratt earned $65,000 per episode and Brody Jenner brought in $45,000 per episode.
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‘Flip or Flop’ Salaries
On their hit HGTV series “Flip or Flop,” Tarek and Christina El Moussa purchase run-down Southern California homes, renovate them and then sell the properties for a profit. The married couple shocked fans in December of 2016, after revealing they had separated following seven years of marriage.
The El Moussas have been starring in “Flip or Flop” since 2013 and plan to continue working together. But Christina allegedly wants a salary bump. In April, the Daily Mail reported her salary demands had reached $1 million per season, but the final terms of her contract — and the amount she was previously earning — haven’t been publicly revealed.
‘Celebrity Big Brother’ Salaries
The U.K.’s twist on the classic “Big Brother” series has celebrities locked in a house together, following commands from the elusive Big Brother. According to TMZ, stars are usually paid a maximum of $250,000 to fly across the pond and compete, but exceptions are made for some “Celebrity Big Brother” salaries.
For example, Ray J’s salary for the 2017 season was $1 million, plus an extra $30,000 to cover travel expenses. In the same season, Heidi and Spencer Pratt — otherwise known as Speidi — earned $700,000.
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‘Dance Moms’ Salaries
She quit the show in March, but former “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller began serving a 366-day jail sentence on July 12 for hiding her income from the Lifetime series during bankruptcy proceedings.
As of 2015, Miller’s salary for “Dance Moms” was $8,899 per month, according to Deadline, which amounted to more than $755,000 in hidden wages. Despite raking in a hearty salary, the star complained to ET that prior to her departure, she was doing costume design but not getting paid for it.
‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ Salaries
Before “Celebrity Wife Swap” was canceled in 2015, leading ladies from two very different families traded places for a week of challenges. Participants included Gary Busey, Corey Feldman, Andy Dick and Verne Troyer. TMZ reported that Heidi and Spencer Pratt earned $50,000 for their 2014 stint on the show, which the site claimed was nearly $20,000 more than some of the other couples.
‘X Factor’ Salaries
Like “American Idol,” “The X Factor” is a show where contestants compete by singing cover songs in hopes of landing a recording contract. The U.K. show was the launching pad for One Direction.
The show also features a star-studded judging panel, including Sharon Osbourne and former lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger. In 2016, the Daily Mail reported that Osbourne’s salary for “The X Factor” was around $2.2 million per season, and Scherzinger’s salary was more than $2.3 million per season.
The ‘Bachelor’ Salaries
Although some "Bachelor" cast members have impressive fortunes, finding love on national television comes at a different price for everyone. For example, Sean Lowe reportedly earned $75,000 to $90,000 for his stint as the bachelor, reported Wetpaint in 2013. And a 2011 Us Weekly report claimed Ashley Herbert was paid only $30,000 for her time on “The Bachelorette.”
However, super blogger Reality Steve scoffed at this report, insisting she earned the standard rate of more than $100,000. On the other end of the spectrum, Emily Maynard reportedly earned $250,000 for starring on “The Bachelorette,” reported Wetpaint.