It’s true, a show about an aging metal rocker and his family was the foundation of all of your favorite shows. Yes, even the housewives. Producers like reality television as much as you do because they don’t have to pay writers or high-priced actors, but they do still have to pay the cast of wacky characters they’ve found to agree to be filmed for three months out of every year and some have turned that small fortune into an empire. Here are 15 of the highest paid reality TV stars:
№1. Willie Robertson
Willie is the son of Phil Robertson, the man who invented Duck Commander which is apparently, for some country reason, the greatest duck-calling mechanism the planet has ever seen. Willie, who is ankle deep in the Duck Commander business himself, looked around at his brothers and wacky family and realized they would make a hell of a lot of money with a reality series.
Fast forward ten years later and this bearded bandannaed guy is worth over $20 million. In the most recent dose of news as his hit reality show, Duck Dynasty, reaches its final season, Robertson left a waiter a $5,000 tip at dinner. Meanwhile, I got a water to go at breakfast this morning after fishing in my pockets for a dime to go with the nickel I left as a tip.
№2. Nicole “Snooki” Lavalle
Snooki was nothing more than an average everything before MTV decided to film a group of young guidos on the turbulent beaches of New Jersey in Jersey Shore. However, she was almost instantly a household name before the first episode ended. In that first season, the cast was getting paid $5,000 an episode and MTV wasn’t even sure if they were going to keep the same cast members on for season two or wrangle up a new bunch of sloppy Staten Island seconds. Of course, they kept them on and they all became very wealthy because of it. Snooki led the pack.
This little firecracker was earning $150,000 per episode for the last two seasons of the hit reality show. Add that with her $32,000 appearance fee and her spin-offs and you’ve got a lot of money packed into a five-foot frame.
№3. Eileen Davidson
Eileen Davidson is best known for her ongoing role as Ashley Abbott on CBS’s The Young and the Restless, a role she’s been playing since 1982. Actually, it’s more than just a paycheck, as her acting has earned her an Emmy in 2014. But if you’re not at home at 3 P.M. and you’re unaware of Davidson’s legendary soap career then you’re probably more familiar with her steady appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Davidson joined the cast in 2014 for season 5 and earned her record-setting salary of $750,000, a season faster than Lisa Vanderpump could ever ask her about the affair that became her marriage (yeah, my girlfriend watches The Housewives and sometimes I’m around, and yeah, I do have a girlfriend).
This woman balances a pretty insane schedule and as far as reality TV goes, she remains one of its more sane personalities even with her millions and millions of dollars stashed away in the bank.
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