Hosts, judges and personalities vital to popular reality shows can earn big bucks. The contestants themselves? They typically don’t make a ton of cash per episode – if anything at all.
Reality contestants and cast members generally earn a small amount for their time and energy, somewhere between a couple hundred and a couple thousand dollars per episode. Some shows offer signing bonuses to participants to offset the costs of putting real life on hold , but offers are somewhat rare.
Paychecks can grow the longer contestants stay on the show or in the competition. And if they win the show it can be lucrative.
The financial opportunities of a reality TV show experience as a contestant, though, go well beyond a cash stipend or major prize. Many contestants take advantage of their fifteen minutes of fame and are able to turn their reality show gig into something bigger and more lucrative.
Here’s a look at 13 ways many successful reality show contestants really make their money.