Summer reality shows are winding down. "Big Brother: All-Stars" will end next week, but never fear, "Dancing with the Stars" and "Survivor: Cook Islands" will begin the week of Sept. 10.
Speaking of "Survivor," send us your thoughts on that show's , which divides players, at least temporarily, by race and ethnic background. Is it racist and off-putting, or just another way to divide up the tribes?
Have a question about a reality show? Send it in, and also , we may have already answered it.
Q: Kathy Griffin’s show returned—and suddenly disappeared again. I know from news that she decided to completely split with Matt (the most recent shows still had him in them) — is that why the show abruptly ended? —Maggie
A: Bravo’s reality show “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” didn’t disappear. The second season, which aired earlier this summer, aired every one of its six episodes. Season one also had six episodes.
And Kathy’s public split with husband Matt Moline didn’t affect the broadcast in any way. Although their relationship “was all going very well at that time” the show was produced, Kathy told Larry King, they ultimately divorced in May, after the show finished taping. Kathy insisted that she and Matt “were absolutely reconciled for the part of my life where we did the reality show.” Griffin told King that Moline stole approximately $72,000 from her during their marriage; Moline has not publicly responded.
The show was nominated for an Emmy this year (losing to "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition") and really, Bravo would be stupid not to bring it back for a third season. But Kathy recently told Page Six that she has no idea why it’s not yet been renewed for a third season, and the gossip column suggested the show could move to VH1. Whatever happens, Kathy will probably be back on TV soon. —A.D.
Q: Is the mansion in "Rock Star: Supernova" the same as the one used in Sci-Fi's "Mad Mad House" reality TV show back in 2004? —Andy, Virginia
A: Great memory, they are one and the same. That Hollywood Hills home has been used in numerous film and television shoots. Musicians such as Elton John, Sting, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have also recorded there.
For more about the mansion, including a photo gallery, . Not bad digs, if you can get 'em. —G.F.C.
Q: What gives contestants the incentive to appear [for reunion shows or to be on a jury] after they have been voted off or kicked off? If a contestant doesn’t have a chance of winning the best bucks, why would they waste more of their time? —Anonymous
A: In fact, many — not all, but most — shows pay participants some kind of fee for their “story rights” (on docudrama shows such as “The Real World”) or compensate them for every week they last on competitive shows (like “Big Brother”). We the payouts for contestants who don’t win or come in second place on “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race,” and presumably, other competitive shows have similar gradients.
On which is currently airing, those who make it to the jury are sequestered, and must sit around and wait until it’s time for then to vote at the end of the show. From conversations overheard on the live feeds, rumor has it that the houseguests now are receiving between $2,000 and $4,000 per week (in addition to any prize money they might receive), and they’ll reportedly receive more if sequestered.
For additional work, most shows pay contestants to show up. During Richard Hatch’s trial for tax fraud, we learned that he received $10,000 to appear on the reunion show, in addition to his $1 million prize. That’s apparently been the going rate for “Survivor” reunion shows since then, too.
Most significantly, however, contestants are generally bound by contracts which spell out in advance how they will be required to participate. Violating those contracts means they risk both legal action and that ever-valuable, career-enhancing connection with producers and the network.
And as we've addressed in our answer on , some contestants just plain don't need the money, and are in it for the fame and exposure anyway. —A.D.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.