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TV's Lowest Paid Reality Stars—Why Do They Do It?

Tue, December 7, 2010 6:55pm EDT by 5 Comments

Would YOU expose your life and humiliate yourself for so little money?

The cast of MTV’s Teen Mom may be covered relentlessly by the press and appear weekly on magazine covers, but they make far less than the stars of MTV’s number-one most popular series, Jersey Shore.

As the stars of the network’s second most-popular series, the teenagers make “somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000-$65,000 per season or “less than $6,000 per show,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the Jersey Shore cast’s recent raise was to about $30,000 an episode. Keep in mind that not only are these figures before taxes and all the various managers and agents fees, these salaries are worlds away from the 2 million dollars per episode Charlie Sheen pulls in for Two and a Half Men.

Making even less than the teen moms are The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who each earn $3,333 per episode and have all signed a rock-solid three-year contract, according to Popeater. No wonder Teresa Giudice is having money problems! And no matter how successful the show continues to be, none of the ladies will get a pay raise until it comes time to renegotiate their contracts.

But at the absolute bottom of the reality barrel is Project Runways poor Tim Gunn, who worked on the season’s first season FOR FREE! Why wouldn’t they pay the poor guy? After the show became a smash hit for Bravo, he didn’t do much better, his salary went up to a laughable $2,500 per episode.