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Reality television competition shows offer the opportunity to gain fame, notoriety and a sometimes even a cash prize. Aside from the potential prize winnings, though, reality television shows generally do not pay contestants much money. There is no salary for reality show contestants, but there are perks associated with certain shows.
Stipends and Prize Winnings
Although there is not always a cash prize, some reality competition shows offer a cash prize for the winners and a weekly stipend for all contestants. According to CareerBuilder, "Big Brother" contestants receive a stipend of $750 per week while in the house. For the all-star season, contestants were bumped to a stipend of around $4,000 per week. Sun Sentinel reports the norm is around $1,000 per week, as of 2010. The winners also receive an additional payout, which varies depending on the competition. For example, the winner of "Survivor" receives a $1 million grand prize. For other competition shows it is about the experience, not the money. The stipend for "Real World" and "Flavor of Love: Charm School" is only around $100 per day.
Perks and Opportunities
Even unpaid reality show contestants still receive perks, including free lodging, drinks and food. Contestants often get to keep any gifts they are given on the show. On "The Bachelor," the women sometimes receive designer clothing, shoes and electronics. Contestants who gain fame and popularity are sometimes offered paid speaking gigs. According to Young Money, speaking opportunities can translate to $10,000 a gig for some reality contestants on the Real World.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.