How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV (2023)

It's not something many of us would ever freely admit, but there have definitely been occasions after a few too many when we've thought, "Yeah, I would kill it on reality TV."

Whether you've ever been likened to Adele at a karaoke session or whipped up a lemon drizzle to rival Mary Berry's, there's a show to suit almost everyone's ambitions.

But aside from national fame, what do you actually get from taking part? Is there any real financial gain for the many that don't emerge with the top prize?

Here's what 10 of the most watched reality shows are willing to shell out for their contestants.

1. Naked Attraction

How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV (1)

Channel 4

You'd think getting your kit off on national television in pursuit of love would be deserving of a hefty lump sum, but apparently the prestige of revealing your meat and two veg (or lady garden) for all and sundry to feast their eyes upon is more than enough.

Speaking to i, former contestant Gavin revealed: "You don't get paid if you're on the show."

Let's just repeat that, because it's not a typo: YOU DON'T GET PAID IF YOU'RE ON THE SHOW.

TBH, if we were looking to make a bob or two, Naked Attraction wouldn't be the one for us anyway. But for those who don't make it on camera, "you get paid £75 for being in the room (on standby)".

Nope. Still not tempted.

2. Gogglebox

How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV (2)

Channel 4

Getting paid to watch telly is definitely one of life's better gigs. When Gogglebox first aired back in 2013, it became a firm fan favourite, audiences quickly becoming attached to the many different characters tasked with providing their own unique brand of commentary on some of TV's most popular shows, from Strictly Come Dancing to Planet Earth II. The outpouring of grief following the death of beloved cast member Leon Bernicoff pays testament to that.

But how much do the families get given? According to The Sun, each family is paid £1,500 a month to split between them as they see fit. In exchange for the dollar, they must commit to 12 hours of filming a week in two lots of six-hour stints. And they also have a few takeaways thrown in for good measure.

Given that the price works out at £31 per hour split at least two ways (so a maximum of £15.50 per hour and a minimum of £6.25, in the case of the five-strong Michaels family), then yes, the odd bhuna is the least you can ask.

3. First Dates

How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV (3)


You know those really awkward moments on First Dates where couples are trying to decide how they're going to split the bill? You don't have to think too hard. There have been a fair few frosty exchanges before two become one and they eventually go their separate ways without so much as a formal handshake.

Those moments are entirely real and not a Made in Chelsea-esque dramatic device employed by the show's producers to spark confrontation.

And that's because each couple is given a measly £50 towards their meal. Throw in a bottle of wine and a couple of desserts and £25 a head really isn't going to get you that far. But as we all know, the real golden ticket here is love, and what could be more precious than that?

4. Come Dine with Me

How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV (4)

Channel 4

We'd go as far to say that Come Dine with Me has given the British public some of the greatest TV moments of all time. Don't @ us. We were practically wiping the tears from our eyes when Peter mercilessly savaged Jane with his acid-tongued takedown, accusing her of deliberately sabotaging his dinner party, before describing her as having ''all the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on".

Chances are, Jane didn't care because she walked away with the £1,000 cash prize. But do the other contestants get anything at all, aside from a ticket to the hottest roasting in town?

Speaking to the Daily Record, former contestant Craig Alexander Wilson revealed that you are given an allowance of £125 to spend on food, which we think is pretty reasonable. Craig, not so much: "That's okay if you want to serve up pie and mash, but not when you want to lavish your new pals with edible gold glitter, scallops and bottles of pink Champagne.''

We'd rather have the pie and mash, to be honest.

5. Love Island

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It was the show of the summer that absolutely everyone was watching. As you tucked into your lemon-and-herb Nando's, chances are the table next to you would be dissecting the showdown between Adam and Rosie that made the personal trainer from Newcastle the poster boy for toxic masculinity and public enemy number one.

The free holiday, and all that comes with it – food, booze and any other freebies – always look immensely satisfying, but how do the Love Island contestants pay their rent and bills while they're away if they're not earning? Speaking to The Sun, a source said: "All the Islanders are getting £200 a week to be on the show. If you break it down to how many hours they're filming every day it's absolutely nothing!'' And they're not wrong – it works out at about £2.80 an hour.

As we all know, the winners split £50k between them, and the majority of the cast will go on to secure a wealth of sponsorship deals with fashion and cosmetic brands, which makes Love Island one of the most lucrative shows on the table.

6. The Apprentice

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It's possibly the most exhausting and, let's get real, the most toe-curling reality TV show that has ever graced our screens. Even if we thought we had a business plan deserving of Lord Alan Sugar's endless praise, we wouldn't put ourselves through the 4am stints in fish markets, frantically legging it all over London, or being subjected to Claude's withering stare.

Plus, without Nick Hewer, what's the point?

But if you did fancy a go on The Apprentice, the Evening Standard previously reported that the contestants get paid around £2,000 each, even if you're the first to go. Not quite the winning £250,000 business investment, but certainly nothing to sniff at. But what price dignity?

7. The Great British Bake Off

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Channel 4

Don't let the rolling pins, jaunty score and butter-wouldn't-melt contestants fool you. Bake Off is dog-eat-dog, or at least stolen custard and #BinGate. Not to mention challenges which can last as long as five hours as the amateur bakers work tirelessly in a bid to construct bread lions and self-portraits made of biscuit. Follow along at home, this is not.

But unlike other competition style reality shows, GBBO doesn't offer any cash prize for the winner, which means the rest of the competitors don't get anything either. Plus all applicants have to bake a whole bunch of cakes for approval – in London – by the production team, so it can actually cost you to go on the show.

Better hope you get a book deal out of it...

8. Big Brother

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Channel 5

People in a house watching people in a house. It sounds hopeless, but Big Brother has only just been axed after 18 explosive years, so clearly it was doing something right.

It's common knowledge that on the celebrity version of the show, stars were paid big bucks to take part. Kim Kardashian's ex, Ray J, was given a whopping £810,000 or thereabouts, which is quite a lot of money. But what about your run-of-the-mill regular celebrities?

Previously speaking to Metro, a Big Brother spokesperson said: "Unlike Celebrity Big Brother, housemates are not paid to participate, as they have a chance of winning £100,000.''

They are given a regular fee to cover their day-to-day expenses, such as rent and bills, but that's it.

9. Britain's Got Talent

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BGT's top prize, a spot on the Royal Variety Performance stage in front of the royals, is undoubtedly the most prestigious of all the reality TV show offerings, coming as it does on top of a tasty £100,000 cash prize.

But there is one spot, and one spot only. If you aren't crowned the winner, you get diddly-squat. According to a spokeswoman for the company: "They are not employed in their own right and therefore Equity rates do not apply. Contestants choose to enter to compete for a substantial prize. The show gives ordinary people an opportunity to showcase their talents and potentially transform their lives."

Like we said: NOWT.

10. The X Factor

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The X Factor is a cruel and unforgiving mistress. Voluntarily choosing to face the wrath of Simon Cowell, subject yourself to the ghastly Six Chair Challenge and put yourself before an extremely vocal audience might be deemed by some as an act of pure madness.

It certainly looks far more painful than it does fun, which you'd think would deserve some kind of payoff, regardless of the result.

But former contestant Lauren Murray, who made it through to the semi-finals, gave The Mirror a bitter account of her time on the show: "You're given an allowance but it's not much. It's pocket money, like my grandad would give me. It's less than £50 a week."

And Murray alleged that she didn't see a penny of the money from any of the songs she sang that ended up in the charts: "I don't get money for the songs I sang on the show going in iTunes, but X Factor does."

A show official did say: ''While in the competition, all of the contestants receive a subsistence allowance covering incidental expenses and payments contributing towards regular fixed outgoings which they are contractually committed to pay, such as mortgage or rent costs.''

They also revealed that contestants "will get royalties at a rate which is the same for new Sony Music artists". Once everything is calculated, Lauren would have "received a statement", as well as earnings for taking part in the tour.

Either way, it doesn't sound like contestants hit the big bucks. (Unless they're One Direction, who made hundreds of millions.)

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How much people actually get paid to go on reality TV? ›

Whether competing on TV for a cash prize or simply being filmed while living your day-to-day life, reality television stars almost always get a paycheck — and it may be bigger than you think.

Do people get paid to be on reality TV shows? ›

Whether competing on TV for a cash prize or simply being filmed while living your day-to-day life, reality television stars almost always get a paycheck — and it may be bigger than you think.

How much does Netflix pay reality show actors? ›

According to a lawsuit filed by season 2 contestant Jeremy Hartwell in July 2022, the Netflix show pays $1,000 per week, up to $8,000 for the length of filming the show, per Us Weekly.

Do you get paid to be on a Netflix reality show? ›

According to a lawsuit filed by season two contestant Jeremy Hartwell in July 2022, the Netflix show pays Love Is Blind stars $1,000 per week, up to $8,000 for the length of filming the show, per Variety.

Who is the highest-paid person on reality TV? ›

From The Property Brothers to the Kardashian siblings, these are the richest American reality TV stars, by who is earning the most:
  • Bethenny Frankel. View this post on Instagram. ...
  • Lisa Vanderpump. View this post on Instagram. ...
  • Kendall Jenner. ...
  • Kourtney Kardashian. ...
  • Khloe Kardashian. ...
  • Kim Kardashian. ...
  • Ryan Seacrest. ...
  • Simon Cowell.
Jan 12, 2023

Do Love Is Blind contestants get paid? ›

According to sources, the stars of Love Is Blind are paid a small salary of $1,000 per week! That's right, they get paid to try and find their soulmate. But that's not all - the show pays for everything from the engagement rings to the apartments they live in during filming.

Do people audition for reality TV? ›

Most reality auditions start with an online application, proceed to a phone interview, and then move onto the first round of face-to-face meetings. Much like a job interview, you may be asked questions that you aren't prepared for. If you don't have an answer, don't fake it.

How much is everyone getting paid for I'm a celebrity? ›

While ITV does not disclose how much the celebrity contestants get paid for appearing on the popular reality show, in the past stars have been expected to receive anything from £30,000 to £900,000, depending on how famous the celebrity is.

Do you get paid to be on married at first sight? ›

Are Married at First Sight contestants paid? Yes. The contestants who appear on the show do get paid for their participation. While there is no prize for staying married at the end of the series, the contestants do get paid daily.

How much do TV actors get paid per episode? ›

How Much do TV stars get paid per episode? TV stars get paid a lot to appear on TV. The average salary for actors and actresses in the US is $87,500, which is almost triple the national median income of $35,000. Per episode, salaries can range from a low of around $30000 to a high of over $1000000.

How much does Netflix pay for a show idea? ›

For writers looking to capitalize on that, just how much can a Netflix screenwriter make when they sell a script to the streaming giant? As a general guideline, the streaming giant Netflix pays between $100 million to $250 million for the rights to a typical box-office movie that they wish to put on their platform.

How much does Netflix pay per show? ›

Netflix buys shows at a rate of the cost of production plus about 30 percent of production costs, but it retains most of its future licensing rights. This is different from how networks typically license shows, which often only covers 60 to 70 percent of production.

How much does a Netflix tagger make? ›

The estimated total pay for a Tagger at Netflix is R$39,067 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is R$39,067 per year.

How much of reality TV is scripted? ›

In most cases, things aren't scripted. While situations may be planned, contestants' reactions are not. The same can't be said for some shows which have so-called celebrities as contestants. They tend to fake it to get more footage.

Is reality TV a job? ›

Reality television jobs include a variety of positions, ranging from assistants to directors. In this field, you may help with filming, edit footage for television, write a storyline, select actors and actresses for the show, coordinate marketing campaigns, or otherwise help produce reality television shows.

Who is the king of reality TV? ›

Join one of the most sought-after executive producers and king of reality television, Carlos King, as he dishes and spills the tea with reality TV stars we all know, love, and love to hate.

Does Love Is Blind pay for the wedding ring? ›

A Netflix representative told POPSUGAR that the Love Is Blind cast doesn't have to pay for the rings. And series creator Chris Coelen told Variety in 2022 that the men are given “10 or 12 different styles and colors” to choose from.

Is Love Is Blind real or staged? ›

So, is Love is Blind staged or scripted? The official answer is no, according to series creator series creator Chris Coelen. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said the show is so real they were even worried no one would get engaged during season one.

Do bachelor contestants get paid? ›

Of course, there's always the chance of finding a potential fiancé(e), but most contestants go home with quite a bit of debt. While many fans assume the contestants on the show are paid for their time spent filming — which, for some, could be more than two months — the truth is, the contestants aren't paid a dime.

How do you get picked for reality TV? ›

“Generally, you should look at the individual shows' or networks' websites,” says Gillian Heller, a former reality television casting producer who found talent for series including “Made” and “Chopped.” “They usually have a casting page where they'll let you know about upcoming stuff they're doing. You submit on there.

Is it hard to get on reality TV? ›

Reality shows are always looking for new contestants.

You don't have to mail in applications any longer for most shows, so it's super easy to apply. You can also apply by attending a casting call or sending in a video online.

How do you become a Netflix actor? ›

In general, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Netflix hires many production companies and each has a slightly different casting process, which means there is no one specific way to get audition opportunities. Netflix uses casting websites, agent submissions, social media, and even in-person meetings.

Who won I'm a celebrity 2023? ›

Last night, after four weeks living on a diet of rice and beans with her fellow celebrity campmates, Liz Ellis was crowned Queen of the jungle and won $100,000 for her chosen charity, Share The Dignity.

Who owns the rights to I'm a celebrity? ›

The first episode aired on 25 August 2002 hosted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, also known as Ant and Dec.
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
OwnerITV Studios
Films and television
Television seriesI'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (independent international versions, see below)
6 more rows

How much is celebrity only fans? ›

Just as crucially, it also offers artists a source of revenue. Influencers like Bhad Bhabie have used the platform to create heavy streams of income. For exclusive access to their accounts, celebrities can charge subscription fees that typically go up to $49.99.

Who pays for the apartment on Married at First Sight? ›

You have to be able to support yourself. Like I said, the couples only receive a small stipend, according to Coelen. Generally, the couples still have to cover their cost of living during filming.

Who pays for the clothes in Married at First Sight? ›

The MAFS contestants pay for their own clothes. In many reality TV shows, the cast are often dressed by the production team. However, on married at First Sight Australia, the participants dress themselves.

Who pays for Married at First Sight divorce? ›

The show WILL help pay for a divorce - but there's a catch.

According to the executive producer of the US show (where the marriages ARE legally binding), if the couples decide to go for divorce, Married At First Sight does not bear the divorce costs.

Who is richest actor in the world? ›

Who is the number one richest actor in the world? Currently, Jami Gertz is the richest actor in the world with a net worth of $3 billion.

How much do extras get paid? ›

How much do extras get paid? A common rate for a single day of background work is between $100 and $200, though extras are paid differently depending on their union status. Generally, nonunion talent will be hired for either a 10- or 12-hour day, with additional pay provided should production run overtime.

Do actors get paid every time their show is on TV? ›

So, do all actors get paid for reruns? According to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, some do, and some don't. For principal performers, royalties can lead to long-term payoffs that trump the original salary.

Can I sell my idea to Netflix? ›

If you have an idea, game, script, screenplay, or production already in development that you'd like to pitch to Netflix, you must work through a licensed agent, producer, attorney, manager, or industry executive, as appropriate, who already has a relationship with Netflix.

Can you sell a script to Netflix? ›

How To Submit Your Screenplay to Netflix. If you have an idea for a show or film, you may be curious how to send it to Netflix. Netflix only accepts submissions through a licensed literary agent, or from a producer, attorney, manager, or entertainment executive with whom they have a pre-existing relationship.

What is the highest paid TV show on Netflix? ›

"Stranger Things" was by far the most expensive Netflix original series as of May 2022, with estimated production costs of around 30 million U.S. dollars per episode. "The Crown" and "The Get Down" rounded out the top three at 13 million and 11 million U.S. dollars, respectively.

How do I sell my life story on Netflix? ›

To sell your script to Netflix, you can do one of two things. First: develop a relationship with certain employees of Netflix or two, send your script through a query letter to Netflix' licensed literary agent. IMDB Pro can help you find be a helpful tool to use if you know how to use it correctly.

Is there a job for watching Netflix? ›

Yes, being a Netflix tagger is a real job. It is a form of metadata analysis where you work directly for the company by watching shows or movies and then applying suitable tags such as genre, language or adult content.

Does Netflix still hire taggers? ›

Netflix Tagger jobs are real, but they are rarely offered. Additionally, the position requires a solid educational background and experience, so not everyone can apply. If you spot such a job listing, check it out on Netflix's official website to ensure it's authentic.

Who are the highest paid Netflix employees? ›

The highest-paid job at Netflix is an engineering manager.
  • Senior Engineer – $167,093.
  • Content Director – $156,653.
  • Team Leader – $155,321.
  • Product Designer – $150,774.
  • Application Software Developer – $139,612.
  • Operations Manager – $129,477.
  • Operations Associate – $86,982.
  • Operation Supervisor – $45,292.
Nov 11, 2022

How do you get paid to travel? ›

How to get paid to travel
  1. Telecommute to your current job. ...
  2. Explore your company's other locations. ...
  3. Teach English or another language. ...
  4. Become a tour guide. ...
  5. Write a research guide. ...
  6. Become a flight attendant. ...
  7. Start a side gig. ...
  8. Find a new remote opportunity.
Mar 10, 2023

Is reality TV really unscripted? ›

Is reality TV real or scripted? Reality TV is advertised as "real", but it's often pretty fake. Typically, show producers control the narrative and encourage participants to act in certain ways. Some reality shows include actors (or wannabe actors) who aren't "real" like other participants.

How long do reality shows take to film? ›


Other times, shooting days can run for 18 hours at a time. It all depends on how quickly the drama happens. If there's a fight or some action or something exciting that happens right away, the filming can be over quickly.

How much does the creator of a reality TV show make? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $205,500 and as low as $18,500, the majority of Reality TV Producer salaries currently range between $42,500 (25th percentile) to $90,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $126,000 annually across the United States.

Do reality stars make a lot of money? ›

Bigger stars joining the series of late, like Denise Richards, are rumored to have landed $1 million for their very first season. NeNe Leakes, of ”The Real Housewives of Atlanta” fame, might be the highest-paid housewife, at a rumored $2.85 million for Season 12. That's almost $110,000 per episode.

How to get a job for VR? ›

There are multiple educational paths to launching your career as a VR developer. You can obtain a college degree or an associate degree in computer science, information technology, virtual reality, or other related fields. Alternatively, you can go through coding bootcamp training.

Do reality stars become actors? ›

Others, however, chose to start their careers in reality television, whether it be a singing competition such as American Idol or a modeling competition series like America's Next Top Model. Some reality stars who have turned into actors include Emma Stone, Jennifer Hudson, and Lucy Hale.

Who is the highest paid reality TV? ›

From The Property Brothers to the Kardashian siblings, these are the richest American reality TV stars, by who is earning the most:
  • Bethenny Frankel. View this post on Instagram. ...
  • Lisa Vanderpump. View this post on Instagram. ...
  • Kendall Jenner. ...
  • Kourtney Kardashian. ...
  • Khloe Kardashian. ...
  • Kim Kardashian. ...
  • Ryan Seacrest. ...
  • Simon Cowell.
Jan 12, 2023

Why is reality TV so successful? ›

Psychologists say it is based on the desire to be part of a specific crowd of people. By watching the show, one individual now has a similar interest with a group of people. Also, reality television allows people to imagine gaining fame through media exposure.

What was the male to female reality TV show? ›

Filmed in Los Angeles, California, the series depicted eleven men in competition for a $250,000 reward over who could most convincingly pass themselves off as a woman. The contestants were required to cross-dress and adopt feminine-personas, which they introduced to their families and friends.

How much do you get paid to be on a TLC reality show? ›

The highest-paid TLC stars receive $50,000 per episode and The Roloffs were paid $7,000 to $10,000. With that in mind, it seems reasonable to conclude that Extreme Sisters' top stars would get between $10,000 and $30,000 per episode. That said, it is important to note that figure is based on an educated guess.

Do celebrities get paid to be on game shows? ›

Most game show appearances by celebrities are for charitable purposes. Any winnings go to a designated charity. Celebs do not get paid.

How do people get paid from TV shows? ›

So, how do investors and producers make money from TV shows? There are a number of ways in which investors and producers can make money from TV shows. The most common way is through advertising. TV shows are often sponsored by companies who want to advertise their products or services to the show's audience.

How much do reality stars make 90 day? ›

While other reality shows like the Real Housewives franchise are known to pay cast members up to $1 million per season, 90 Day Fiancé pays their cast members between $1,000 and $1,500 per episode. Those on Before The 90 Days get even less at $500 to $1,000 per episode.

Who is the highest paid on TLC? ›

Current and former 90 Day Fiancé stars like David Murphey, Darcey Silva and Larissa Dos Santos Lima are some of the highest earners that have been featured on the TLC show.

How much do they get paid for 90 Day Fiancé pillow talk? ›

“90 Day Fiancé pays their cast members $1,000 to $1,500 per episode,” an insider previously told Radar, noting that the stars that land their own spinoffs end up making more money.

Who is the richest game show contestants? ›

Ken Jennings is the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, having accumulated a total of $5,223,414.

Who actually pays actors? ›

The screen actors union SAG-AFTRA has minimum wage requirements, based on the budget of the film, that projects must pay union actors. Every major film and television studio in Hollywood operates under a SAG-AFTRA contract, so those minimums apply; agents negotiate more for their clients if necessary.

What TV show gives the most money? ›

1 'The Simpsons'

Do TV shows get paid per viewer? ›

How much money do TV shows make per viewer? Licensed television programs can make a lot of money per viewer, but it depends on the show, when it airs, and where it airs. Generally, though, estimated ad earnings for the TV industry are $1 per viewer.

Do actors get paid for reruns? ›

So, do all actors get paid for reruns? According to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, some do, and some don't. For principal performers, royalties can lead to long-term payoffs that trump the original salary.


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