What do ‘Big Brother’ contestants get paid?

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/ Source: msnbc.com
By By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Andy Dehnart

Wondering about how a certain reality show pulled something off? Have a question about a certain contestant?

Whether it's "Survivor," "American Idol," "The Apprentice," "Real World" or another show, send in your questions. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, MSNBC.com's Television Editor, and Andy Dehnart, creator of Reality Blurred,will try to answer them.

Before you send in your question, check our archives — you may be able to get your answer right away.

Q: How much do the contestants get for being on Big Brother?    —Sue, Oregon

A: The houseguests receive a stipend for each week they’re in the house, and also for the time they spend sequestered as part of the jury. Thus, the  houseguests tend to be anxious to make it least to sequester; there, they get paid to just relax, not play a game or eat oatmeal “slop.” If they’re evicted earlier, they don’t get that additional jury-duty pay.

This season, Jen confirmed that the stipend was $750 per week when she was considering refusing to go to the sequester house, and that’s been the standard stipend for nearly every season (for last year’s all-star season, the stipend was reported to have increased to $4,000 per week).

A jury member for “Big Brother 8” would be in the house for 81 days as of Tuesday, the live finale. That’s 11.5 weeks, not including the time they spent sequestered before the series began. So, jury members would receive somewhere around $9,000 for their work, plus any prizes. America’s Player, Eric, earned $40,000 performing his tasks, for example, while Dustin took $5,000 during a competition. And, of course, there are the prizes: $500,000 for the winner, Dick, and $50,000 for the runner-up, Daniele.    —A.D.

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Q: After being evicted from the Big Brother house, how do (contestants) receive their clothing? They always just have the one black bag upon eviction.    —Hillary, Massachusetts

A: When the houseguests are evicted and go to meet Julie Chen, they take with them a single duffel bag, one that looks good on television. But it’s not enough space to pack all of their clothing for the summer.

After Eric was evicted during the surprise fast-forward episode, live feed viewers watched as Zach and Jameka packed Eric’s belongings. Zach was asked to do that by the producers while he was in the Diary Room because Eric didn’t pack before the live show, as nominees usually do.

Nominated houseguests’ luggage is placed in the storage room, the room where deliveries are made to the house; there, producers can remove it and give it to the evicted houseguest.  —A.D.


Q: How can I audition my kid for "Kid Nation"? We are both really interested. I think she's really good drama for the show (if you know what I mean). Please help.    —Camber

A: Of course, the brand-new show has not yet even been renewed for a second season, so there may not be another chance.

There is an application on the front page of the "Kid Nation" official Web site(.PDF), but it says that finalists will be allowed to interview in late August-September 2007, so you may just have missed your chance. If so, and if your child will still be under 15 in another year, keep an eye on the site and look for a new deadline.    —G.F.C.



“In regards to the reader who commented on the extreme weight loss of the one contestant on "Biggest Loser", yes it is possible for someone to lose that amount of weight in one week. When I got to 305 lbs and started working out just doing an hour on the treadmill each day, the first weeks weight losses were astronomical. Week 1, 21 lbs. Week 2, 15 lbs. I lost less as time went on and it got to about two pounds a week after about 12 weeks. After about six months of doing treadmill for an hour a day I got down to around 235 and hit a plateau. Got frustrated and quit. Managed to gain it all back and now have to do it all again. Unfortunately I am not lucky enough to be able to qualify for a weight loss show or have daily medical supervision. I can't even afford simple diet plans. I just slug along the best I can and hopefully someday I can get back to my normal weight at 170.”    --William

I too, have to agree with S's comment about 'Loser" lying. I also kept my calorie intake at 1300 and worked out 5 days a week with cardio and strength training. I ALSO worked out with a personal trainer 2 days out of those 5. I too lost around 25lbs.....over 2 MONTHS  How can that be that a person loses 30 lbs in ONE week....and how in the world can that possibly be healthy?”    --Kathy


“Re: Survivor contestants needing to be 21+ years old in the rules, Big Brother (same network) also has the same rule - but that didn't stop them from allowing Danielle (It's noooot faaaaiiiirrrr!) Donato from participating this summer and walking away with her and her dad winning $550,000 between them.”    --Mich


“I would really like to see a show about people who can't handle their money. Sample: they can go shopping but need money to pay their bills. Some people have NO idea how to handle their money. Have them bring in all their bills & unpaid bills. See who can get more of their bills paid. And get more of the unpaid bills paid. Who gets the best systems and pays the most bills off wins. And maybe the government will pick up some pointers. Oh, please let my daughter be on the first show.”    --Anonymous


“Dick on "Big Brother" was allowed all season to physically intimidate and actually assault a female contestant, not once but twice. He was rewarded for this behavior by winning. This man obviously has "issues" with women. Was his background even checked to see if he has a record of physical abuse? His mother raised his children. I would like to know what his ex-wife has to say and how the producers of this show can justify having a jerk like him on.”    --Miranda

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. Andy Dehnart is a writer and teacher who publishes reality blurred, a daily summary of reality TV news.