If you were asked to spend 39 days on an abandoned island alongside a dozen other people battling for food and supplies, how much would you need to be paid to participate?
This is a question many viewers have had for the iconic reality TV series Survivor. Running for 40 seasons, Survivor has seen many contestants take on the challenge of survival while using strength, wit, and deception to make their way to the end and become the ultimate survival champion.
While you’re probably thinking that non-winners don’t make any money during this experience, pay has to be a factor in deciding whether or not competitors uproot their lives for a month or more to try their hand at the $1 million prize. So how much are they paid?
How much do Survivor contestants make?
It isn’t clear exactly how much contestants on the show get paid, as the reports on the subject are varied. According to Cinemablend, Survivor contestants make more than $10,000 for their time on the show and are all paid this amount for their participation in the series finale.
Furthermore, the report claims that the first tribe member to be booted from the island earns him or herself a small bonus of $3,500. The report also claims that contestants who take home second and third place typically make between $80,000 and $100,000. Obviously, the winner takes home the grand prize, which has varied from season to season, but on average is around $1 million.
While these numbers appear to be from Survivor U.S., according to a contestant from Survivor Australia, pay isn’t quite so luxurious. In a 2019 interview, former Survivor Australia contestant Lee Carseldine shared that contestants on the show earn around $65 per day during filming.
“We only get paid $90 AUD a day,” Lee explained in an interview with MamaMia. “So apart from trying to win it (and take home $500,000 AUD), you aren’t doing it for the money. It’s a whole lot of hurt for not a lot gained if you don’t win.”
It isn’t clear whether the report is taking into account the reported bonuses for appearing on Survivor as part of the jury or appearing in the series finale, so the figure could fall more in line with other reports.