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Here’s How Much You Get Paid to Be a Reality TV Star These Days

Working a bland 9-to-5 job provides ample opportunities for us to dream about how we might somehow, someday strike it rich. Some play the lottery, hoping for that one in a million chance. Others get creative and audition to be the next big winner on the reality TV show they’ve followed for years. Are you that next four-chair turn?

About 118.4 million households have TV service, so there’s no denying TV stars have a far reach. But the fancy clothes and luxurious film settings often cloud the reality of reality TV. And when we get down to it, the price of TV fame is quite dismal.

Before you quit your day job for the big screen, make sure to choose your poison wisely. Not all shows reap big rewards in exchange for the promise to air your dirty laundry to all of the world. Some shows pay their contestants next to nothing, while others could be your stepping stone onto something bigger and better. Here’s everything we know about how much the most popular reality TV shows pay their participants.

1. Pawn Stars

Rick Harrison on "Pawn Stars"

Rick Harrison on "Pawn Stars" Pawn Stars | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Main attractions on reality shows will often receive payment that increases as their popularity rises. Business Insider reported before getting the Kardashian-like treatment, TV stars might be paid only a few thousand per episode.

For example, Pawn Stars, one of the History Channel’s highest-rated and most lucrative shows, paid Richard Harrison $15,000 an episode in 2014, while Harrison’s son Corey could charge $1,000 for guest appearances as a result of his newfound fame. Another fan favorite, Chumlee, made $25,000 an episode.

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