The internet is abuzz with some news about “Teen Moms” Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, Amber Portwood, and Catelynn Lowell. A figure has gotten out on how much MTV pays them for participating in the series. And considering that all of them struggle financially on the show—Farrah gets a job as a waitress, Maci worries about paying bills, and Catelynn is freaked about the price of community college—they actually make pretty good money, a reported $60K to $65K per season or about $5,000 per episode. [Huffington Post]
Now, that is a lot of money, especially considering that 75 percent of teen moms who aren’t on MTV end up on welfare within five years. It’s enough money that it should alter the making-ends-meet theme of the show, and it is more than many professionals make in a year. But instead of berating these teens, I’d like to put their paychecks in the context of what other reality TV stars make. And let’s just say that compared to the $1.25 million dollars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt made in 2008 for their insane on-camera antics, this is pocket change.Part of me wondered if MTV was taking advantage of the “Teen Mom”‘s backgrounds and the fact that $60K would sound like a fortune to them, even though it’s a lowball figure for letting a camera crew into the intimate moments of your life. And chances are, these ladies were far less likely to consult lawyers when signing their contracts than their already-wealthy reality TV compatriots, say the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
So, I decided to look at how the paychecks of “Teen Moms” compare to the reported paychecks of other reality TV stars. And while I found that my theory was largely right—most cast members make WAY more than the gals—there is one show where the series regulars got a much lousier deal. “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” it’s time to do some negotiating. The stars of that show allegedly made $3,333 per episode for their first season.