Big Brother has captivated reality TV-loving audiences ever since the first group of “houseguests” were locked away in a studio-built house back in 2000. According to an article SFGate published at the time, the hit show is actually based on a Dutch series that spread “to big ratings in Germany and Spain” before its release in America.
Nevertheless, when Big Brother presented North American audiences with the opportunity to quite literally keep an eye on the happenings of its contestants 24/7, viewers couldn’t look away. As SFGate so perfectly described it, the series became known by the lack of necessities its houseguests were stripped of: “telephones, television sets, radios, computers, newspapers, microwaves, dishwashers, privacy and, in all likelihood, human warmth.”
While many tune in season after season to watch contestants scheme, manipulate, hook-up, and physically compete against one another for a chance to win the $500,000 prize, it begs the question: do they earn anything else? Considering the fact that some players get eliminated from their self-induced exile to find themselves fired from their jobs, it makes us wonder if the 15 minutes of reality TV fame are truly worth it. Here’s how much the Big Brother contestants make on the show.
The physical and emotional suffering pays off
There’s no denying the mental and physical demand that comes with spending a summer in the Big Brother house. As CBS once recounted, one endurance challenge saw contestants stand and hold down a button without letting go. One player ended up winning after an incredible 14 hours and 37 minutes. As for the psychological strain? All things considered, it may be just as bad. “Paranoia prevents people from sleeping,” one Big Brother contestant dished to Huffington Post. “You’re afraid you’re going to miss something.” Another echoed a similar sentiment, “It’s very stressful … when there are confrontations and problems, you can’t get away from those problems.”
So, is competing for the grand prize even worth it? According to a cast contract obtained by Reality Blurred, the contestants also make money while on the show, giving them the incentive to keep playing. “[They] receive $750 per week that they’re in the house.” As for the time in the jury house? Although the contract doesn’t explicitly state any compensation, producers may “also give additional consolation … but [have] no obligation to do so.”
Seeing as how the game demands so much from its players, and, as the contract notes, can cause “anxiety, discomfort, embarrassment, anger and/or shock,” we’re sure the money comes as a welcome bonus to stay on the show. Considering contestants from other reality TV series like The Bachelor, don’t actually get paid at all, time on Big Brother could be much worse.
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