reality tv

Exactly how much contestants on MAFS, MasterChef and The Bachelor get paid.

There's a reality TV show for everyone: Chefs, home renovators, singers, dancers, mango daiquiri enthusiasts, TV watchers, those wanting to starve on an island for months, those wanting to marry a stranger, those wanting to date 25 different people...

Heck, if it wasn’t for common sense and the risk of public humiliation, we'd probably all be on TV.

If you don't win a big chunk of prize money (or #TrueLove), teeth whitening endorsements and being chased for paparazzi photos that end up on the Daily Mail might not quite cover all the bills... so, how much do reality TV stars get paid? It is... worth it?

Listen to Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, about exactly how much reality stars get paid. Post continues below.

On The Quicky, host Claire Murphy spoke to Rob McKnight from TV Blackbox about how much reality TV stars get paid.

"If we judge it by what the contestants on House Rules get paid, they would get a $500 fee per week and a $500 allowance," McKnight explained, adding that the details were shared in a case taken to the Workers Compensation Commission.

"[Contestants] don’t have to pay for any meals as all their expenses are covered. But you’ve still got your mortgages, your bills, etc."

McKnight also shared that reality TV contestants don’t often make money until after the show has aired.

"The reality TV appearance isn’t going to make you your money. What the non-celebrities are hoping for is to find that 15 minutes of fame where they can cash in," he explained.


"We see Married At First Sight stars doing Cameos, which involves paying for a recorded message from them, they might go to nightclubs and get paid for that, they might make $500 for emceeing an event depending on how hot they were within the show. But it’s very few and far between that the ones can actually make a career out of it," he continued.

"We have seen it with Chrissie Swan, for example. She was on Big Brother and has had a huge career since in television and radio. She was able to transcend being a contestant and become a legitimate personality but that’s not always the case."

Here’s what we know about the pay rates on other Australian reality shows:

Love Island Australia.

The Love Island Australia contestants basically just lounge by a pool and kiss all day, which doesn't exactly scream 'hard work'. Maybe that's why they get paid... a pittance, unless they're also posting to the 'Gram.


An insider spoke to the So Dramatic! podcast and claimed the 2021 cast received a daily fee of $150 for expenses, plus whatever they make from any sponsored content opportunities while in the villa.

"They get absolute bank for the brand deals they do during filming," the insider said. "They get paid about $1,000 per post.

"They are basically giving them paid sponsored Instagram content to do in the villa."

The Bachelor franchise.

Image: Network 10.


The latest season of The Bachelor was different in many ways - for one, there were three of them. 

While none of them found love in the end, they did come away with some cash.

According to sources, Jed McIntosh made the most out of all the bachelors, and raked in over $400,000. 

"Jed was paid $415,000 in instalments based on certain production milestones," a source told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Felix Von Hofe took home $90,000 plus a $5000 bonus. 

However, he forfeited the $5K as he refused to partake in interviews or promo during or after the show. 

Thomas Malucelli - who was the only bachelor who applied to be on the show (aw!) - made $50,000.


Jed earned way more than the other Bachies because he was, apparently, in high demand. 

"Warner Bros. team were extremely pushy for Jed," the source said.

"They had a lot of pressure to use him to gain new audience and put a lot of emphasis on 'this is the make or break season'."

As for previous seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, contestants are reportedly paid $90 a day.

In 2018, a former contestant who chose to remain anonymous confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that the daily amount was under $100.

"You don't get paid a wage as such, you get given a weekly expense allowance which is under $100 a day. It is below minimum wage," she said.

"It's ridiculous what you get paid. A lot of the girls were excited to get that amount a week, but I was like, are you serious? I wouldn't get out of bed for that."

However, the rose-giver is likely to earn a lot more.


According to Perth Now, which cited "a source close to Blurton", 2021 Bachelorette Brooke earned $250,000 for her stint as Osher's shiny new best friend.

Not bad at all.

For those who disappoint Osher and don't find love on the original format, the (former) option of flying to Fiji and drinking mango daiquiris in the sun would see them earn about $100-$200 per day.

"Most of us have got full-time jobs so we need money to pay for bills and stuff... it’s enough to get us through the week," Ivan Krslovic, from Ali Oetjen's The Bachelorette season, told Hit 103.5’s Carly and Seamus.

"We’re sipping cocktails and sitting around in our board shorts, so it’s not too bad."

Watch: The love lessons learned on Bachelor in Paradise. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

But according to The Daily Telegraph, the majority of the cast were making up to $500 a day on the show, while former Bachelor winner Alex Nation may have been receiving 10 times more than her fellow contestants on the show.

On an episode of the So Dramatic podcast, host Megan Pustetto also reported that the Bachelor in Paradise contestants were paid "$500 a day".

"Some contestants were able to bargain and get $1000 a day... and then people like Keira [Maguire] can demand more," she claimed.

"I heard Keira’s fee was close to $50,000, but honestly that’s just a rumour and not confirmed because contract negotiations are very confidential."

The host also claimed that former couple Alex Nation and Richie Strahan were paid $4,000 a day each for their appearance on the show last year.

Big Brother VIP and Big Brother Australia.

Channel 7 managed to pull in some huge names for 2021's season of Big Brother VIP, which cost them big bucks.

The American contestants, which included Caitlyn Jenner and former Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman, earned much more than their Australian counterparts.


According to The Wash, Caitlyn received the biggest payday, even though she only stayed for a week, at $500,000.

Image: Channel 7. Omarosa wasn't far behind on $450,000.

Rounding out the podium is Thomas Markle Jr, the older half-brother of Meghan Markle, who reportedly made $200,000.

As for the Aussie contestants, they were said to have earned a more modest five-figure salary each.


Imogen Anthony and Jessika Power were reported to have been paid $20,000, but Jess disputed this on Triple M Sydney's Moonman in the Morning, claiming she actually received a salary "close to $150,000".

Wild, huh? But Seven are definitely able to save money on the non-VIP version of the show.

Here's a throwback for you: Michael Bric, known as John or Jono during his time in the 2006 Big Brother house, didn't manage to score the $1 million prize money, but was pretty happy with his weekly retainer.

"It sort of varied from $1000-$2000," he told Matt and Meshel. "For me at that stage, as a 20-year-old, I was loving every cent I could get... I definitely wasn't complaining about it."

The Masked Singer. 

It turns out guessing the hidden identities of celebrities is a pretty lucrative gig. 

A source reportedly told the Daily Mail that Jackie 'O' Henderson is earning about $1 million for her judging role on the show. The amount was supposedly locked in before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the source, she is also earning more than fellow judges Dannii Minogue, Dave 'Hughesy' Hughes and Urzila Carlson, and the same amount that Lindsay Lohan was earning on the first season of the show. 

Jackie O's higher pay cheque apparently has to do with the fact that The Masked Singer gets promoted on her KIIS FM radio show.


In 2019, it was speculated that Lohan took home $800,000 for her role on the show, while Minogue, Henderson and Hughes received $350,000, $250,000 and $200,000 respectively. 

And the judges weren't the only ones receiving big pay cheques.

According to Now To Loveall of the celebrities who competed on the show in the first season were paid a sign-on fee between $10,000 and $200,000. They were then paid between $2,000 and $10,000 for each episode they appeared in.


First winner Cody Simpson was believed to have earned $380,000 for the six weeks he spent on the show. 

Married at First Sight.

Former Married At First Sight contestant Telv Williams revealed during his season in 2018, the cast get paid a daily rate of $150 on the reality show.

A fan of the 34-year-old asked “Did MAFS pay for new outfits each week or the dinner parties or commitment ceremonies?” and it turns out most of the essentials are out the pocket of the contestants.

“You gotta do all your own hair and makeup. You gotta do your own dress, buy your own clothes… You get paid $150 dollars a day, tax-free. It’s s**t, it’s rubbish… everything is off your own f**king back,” he responded.

That figure had increased by season 10, with Jesse Burford telling his Instagram followers that during filming in late 2022, he and the cast received $1175 a week.

Another former MAFS star, Nasser Sultan, told Now to Love he got $150 a day, but other contestants received more.

“Sarah and a few others, like Davina, got more money,” he revealed. “They got $50 more a day. Basically, the more you did for the show, the more you got.”


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A post shared by DAVINA RANKIN | BRISBANE (@davvyxx) on


Speaking to The Quicky, former contestant Clare Verrall shared that she “lost thousands” while appearing on MAFS.

“The way that season two worked, they told us that we could still go to work, but I worked from home and they didn’t actually allow me to get any work done at all,” she said.

“I lost thousands and actually ended up losing my job because I wasn’t able to hit any sales targets for that month because I wasn’t keeping up. I lost a lot of money by doing the show.”

Lizzie Sobinoff, who appeared on two seasons of the show, apparently commanded a much higher pay the second time around. 


A source told New Idea that the 28-year-old was offered $100,000 to get ‘married’ again.

“Lizzie was paid a whopping fee of $100,000 for her four-week appearance on the new season, while the rest of the cast received just $150 per day,” they said.

However, Daily Mail reports she would have had to do more than four weeks’ worth of work. According to their calculations, her wedding was filmed on October 17, 2019, with the final vows taking place on December 3. A cast reunion also occurred on January 14, 2020. This adds up to roughly eight weeks of filming – and is still not bad salary-wise.

Then there are the brand deals. Lizzie’s return to MAFS also coincided with a number of sponsored Instagram posts from brands like Booby Tape, Tribe Skincare, inLuxxe and Sculpt Body Aus. Ka-ching indeed.


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Dancing with the Stars

Thanks to Woman’s Day, we have a rough idea of how much celebrities were paid on DWTS in 2020 – and it really varies. According to a source, their salaries were "slashed" that year due to reduced budgets.

“The producers have worked hard to convince the cast they’re all on roughly the same pay, but the truth is half the cast are on low salaries and the rest… peanuts!” they said.

“Going on reality TV is no longer frowned upon – it’s a career booster and it plays straight into Ten’s cost-cutting game.”


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???????????????????????????? had so much fun

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Singer and the daughter of Olivia Newton-John, Chloe Lattanzi, reportedly received $45,000 for her stint on the show, with former Bachelorette, Angie Kent, and comedian and actress, Celia Pacquola, scoring $40,000 each.

Other contestants like Dean Wells, Christian Wilkins, Dami Im, Travis Cloke and Claudia Karvan are speculated to have been paid $15,000 for their dancing efforts.

Although neither The Amazing Race host Beau Ryan and comedian Ed Kavalee (who also appears on Channel 10’s Have You Been Paying Attention?) were believed to have been given appearance fees, the Woman’s Day’s source said they were both on “monster retainers” expected to be “$150,000-plus”.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

According to Woman's Day, camp mates can walk out of the jungle with some pretty big pay cheques.

Grant Denyer and Colin Fassnidge were apparently the highest paid celebs in 2020, each earning an eye watering $150,000 for their time on the show. 

The publication also claims that Dipper and Ash Williams pocketed $90,000, while Travis Varcoe and Toni Pearen both walked away with $60,000. 


Reality stars Abbie Chatfield, Paulini, Jack Vidgen and Jess Eva all supposedly earned $50,000, which is $15,000 more than Pettifleur, Alli Simpson and Mel Buttle who were paid $35,000.

As for who was the paid the least, Gogglebox stars Adam Densten and Symon Lovett took home $15,000 each. Which still sounds pretty good to us. 

Image: Supplied.

According to Woman's Day, Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby took home more than any other contestant in 2019, apparently being paid $50,000.

TV presenter Tom Williams and musical theatre star Rhonda Burchmore weren’t too far off, both supposedly being paid $40,000 each.

American gossip guru Perez Hilton, Myf Warhurst and Miguel Maestre are believed to all have been paid the same amount – $30,000.

And Dale Thomas, Tanya Hennessy, Ryan Gallagher and the remaining camp mates reportedly took home a reasonable $10,000 each.


In 2022, the one to recieve the biggest pay packet was reportedly former AFL player Nathan Buckley. It is alleged he is taking $300,000 home to appear on I’m A Celebrity.

Similarly, in an interview with Triple M’s Rush Hour with Wendell, Jude and Gus, Beau Ryan let it slip that he'd made $200,000 for appearing on the reality program - making him one of the highest paid celebrities of his season. 

It has also previously been reported that Shane Warne was paid $2 million to appear on the show back in 2016.


It's the show we all want to be on, but if you're planning on applying for the next season of Gogglebox, don't quit your day job.

Former Gogglebox star Yvie Jones told Fox FM that she would like the cast of the show to unionise to protect them from exploitation.

"Well, they don’t pay a talent fee," Yvie revealed, when asked how much the stars are paid.

"You’re not employed. The house gets a location fee, and that has to be whoever owns the house gets a fee. Our landlord would get the fee and she would have to forward it to us if she wanted to.

"It would be happening in all the rentals. This is how bad it was in the beginning, the first season, per day, per house we’d get $250 a day."

angie and yvie
Oh. Image: Channel Ten.

The stars, or their landlords, are now much better compensated, but it's still not much according to Yvie.

"Now they get a location fee that is a lot more, but it’s still nothing. Everyone on Gogglebox is doing it for the love.

"They really do love what they do. There needs to be a union I think, in this kind of TV, observation documentaries, we’re not employed so we don’t have a union."

Celebrity Gogglebox. 

Celebrity Gogglebox is the new show on the block that has caused a bit of a stir - particularly in regards to what some of our favourite Aussie stars are being paid to watch TV. 


While reports mentioned that Hamish Blake made $500,000 to feature on the show, he was quick to dispel the rumours. 

He appeared on the special 45-minute-long episode alongside his wife, Zoë Foster Blake.

Hamish and Zoe on Celebrity Gogglebox. Image: Foxtel. 

"That [report] blew me away," he told Kyle & Jackie O. "[We were paid] $5,000. Five, zero, zero zero.


"Everyone gets the same thing. There was never any discussion of money."

He continued: "The same executive producer that makes LEGO Masters is in charge of Gogglebox as well, good mate, and that’s why we did it. Literally, over lunch one day he goes, 'Hey we’re doing a celebrity version of Gogglebox,' and I was like, 'Mate we’ll do that, that sounds like great fun.'"

The parents of two participated because they were simply "fans of the show", and they donated the fee to charity - something they have done with previous TV appearances. 

Australian Survivor.

Um, it turns out you'd be better compensated walking down the aisle to marry a stranger and throwing fruit bowls at dinner parties than you would be battling it out on Survivor.

Season three contestant Lee Carseldine told Mamamia the money they were paid was just as pitiful as the food and shelter provided (of which there was... practically none ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

lee survivor
Image: Channel 10.

"We only get paid $90 a day," Lee explained. "So apart from trying to win it (and take home $500K) you aren’t doing it for the money. It’s a whole lot of hurt for not a lot gained if you don’t win."

You’re basically being paid less than $100 to be wet, cold and hungry.

The Block.

If any reality TV contestants deserve to be paid well, it's The Block stars.

Unlike other shows, which involve lounging around a pool or watching TV on your couch, The Block requires months of renovating an entire house while sleep-deprived and strapped for cash and no, thank you. Plus, if your auction doesn't go well, you can be left with nothing at the end. That s**t is cruel.

The contestants are paid living expenses during filming, but according to The Block Sky High contestants Bec and George, this is barely enough to cover bills and food.

How we feel about The Block stars getting paid... not much. Image: Nine.

In 2014, the weekly payment was reported to be $700 per week. The ABC reported that some earned the equivalent of $7 per hour. And 2016 stars Andy Sunderland and Ben Toyne said the payments were only given during filming, not while the show was in post-production or airing.

We'll pass.

My Kitchen Rules.

According to an 'unnamed source' who spoke to the Courier-Mail, contestants on My Kitchen Rules received $1,000 a week, but considering how much they need to cook, because... cooking show, this didn't go very far.


"It's hard. We were spending up to $600 a week on food because you're encouraged to cook as much as possible," they said.


Even if we could cook anything requiring more skill than a lasagne, the weekly allowance handed to MasterChef contestants is... not that enticing.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, contestants on the 2013 season received a $630 allowance each week on top of having their food and accommodation expenses covered.

Contestants were paid even less in 2011, with reporting an allowance of a mere $500 a week.

For 2020's MasterChef Australia: Back To Win series, the returning competitors were apparently able to negotiate a pay rise worth tens of thousands of dollars each, according to New Idea. 

Season one runner-up Poh Ling Yeow and season three fan favourite Hayden Quinn were both reportedly paid $40,000.

But it was celebrity guest judge Katy Perry who took home the most amount of money. According to the publication, the singer earned an eye-watering $100,000 for her brief appearance on the show.

Poh Ling Yeow
Image: Ten.

The Apprentice.

Now, this is a throwback.

Wedding venue director Mary-Anne was isolated from the outside world for nine weeks while filming The Apprentice in 2009, and said she clocked numerous 10 or 12-hour days.

what are reality tv contestants paid
Mary-Anne. Image: Facebook.

In exchange, she told Matt and Meshel, she was paid just $500 a week.

"I did it at the time because it would be a great experience, because obviously it was all based around business and I had my own businesses, so I thought it was a great opportunity," she said.

"But in reality, it is a reality show. So it's all scripted, it's all actors that are there - not paying customers - that you're serving. It really left me quite jaded by the end."

This article was originally posted on October 14, 2019, and has since been updated.

Feature Image: Channel 10 / Foxtel.

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