What do second-place finishers win?

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

This week, we're tackling a question we often get: How are second-place winners on reality shows rewarded, and third-place finishers, and so on down the line?

Turns out if you score in the top few places, you're doing quite well, but if you're among the first few to get the boot, let's hope you didn't have to quit your job to participate in the show. (See our previously answered question: Who can afford to go on shows?)

We're filing our past questions and answers in the archive, so if you've got a question, check there to see if it's already been answered.

Q: Do second place winners on “The Amazing Race” receive any type of prize?    —Sonja, Massachusetts

A: They do, as do cast members on CBS’ other reality show, “Survivor.” How much they receive is a bit of a mystery. We asked CBS, and a spokesperson said the network does not confirm prize amounts, comparing them to one’s salary.

On “The Amazing Race,” as with other competition shows, contestants are paid on a sliding scale based upon how they place in the competition. (These dollar amounts don’t include things the show pays for, such as the vacation the losers get sent on.)

As TARflies Times excellent TAR FAQ notes, Aaron from “The Amazing Race 6” reported on Television Without Pity that teams receive the following payments, which of course they have to split with each other:

Winner, $1,000,000

Runner-up, $25,000

3rd $10,000

4th $7,000

5th $6,000

6th $5,000

7th $4,000

8th $3,500

9th $3,000

10th $2,500

11th $1,500

This isn’t necessarily unchanging; there may have been different prizes for the family edition, for example. And Aaron said that Rob and Amber received $500,000 just to appear on the show’s seventh season.

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On “Survivor,” contestants receive considerably more. The winner gets $1 million, and of course, he or she doesn't have to share with a team. The runner-up gets $100,000, which is why Jeff Probst often tells the runners-up that they made a $900,000 mistake. The person who comes in third receives $85,000, as “Survivor Guatemala” third-place contestant Rafe has confirmed in several interviews since last week’s finale.

The first person voted off receives $2,500, although on the all-star edition, Tina reportedly received 10 times that, $25,000, for coming in last place; presumably, the other returning cast members were also given larger prizes (first prize was still a million dollars, though). There were also multiple reports that for coming in eighth on the first season, Jenna received $27,500. And we learned from Richard Hatch’s tax woes that, for appearing on the reunion, contestants each receive $10,000.

Wikipedia’s (anyone-can-edit, read-with-caution) page on Survivor breaks down the other prizes as follows, and while all of their numbers jibe with the ones we know for sure, the others aren’t as heavily confirmed.

Winner, $1,000,000

Runner-up, $100,000

3rd, $85,000

4th, $70,000

5th, $55,000

6th, $45,000

7th, $35,000

8th, $27,500

9th, $20,000

10th, $15,000

11th, $10,000

12th, $7,500

13th, $5,500

14th, $4,500

15th, $3,500

16th, $2,500    —A.D.

Q: Who are the contestants on the 2nd season of “Dancing with the Stars”?    —V

A: Surprise summer hit "Dancing with the Stars" is returning to ABC on Jan. 5, with the same ballroom-dancing format that made the goofy show such a hit. Will the second season do as well in the ratings, or was it just a summer fling? We'll find out soon enough, but one thing's for sure: The new contestants are just as C-list as the first group, which included soap star Kelly Monaco, who eventually won; John O'Hurley from "Seinfeld," who came in second; boxer Evander Holyfeld, "Bachelorette" Trista Rehn Sutter, and others.

The second cast has been announced, and with a couple of exceptions, the dancers are straight from the "WHO?" file. I have heard of maybe five of these people. I mean, Jessica Simpson's soon-to-be former brother-in-law? That's a reach.

The biggest celebrity is probably Oscar-winner Tatum O'Neal. From the world of sports and wrestling come the NFL's Jerry Rice, WWE's Stacy Kiebler, and ESPN's Kenny Mayne.Tia Carrere ("Wayne's World 2," "True Lies") will be dancing, as will oh-so-tan George Hamilton. Others include journalist Giselle Fernandez, Soapnet's Lisa Rinna, and Nick Lachey's brother Drew Lachey. Teen rapper Romeo was going to dance, but due to a basketball injury, he dropped out, and was replaced by his father, hip-hop mogul Master P.

All the "celebs" will be paired with professional dancers, including returners Ashly DelGrosso, Louis van Amstel, Edyta Sliwinska, and Jonathan Roberts.    —G.F.C.

Q: Did any of the contestants from "The Biggest Loser" gain back the weight after the show?    —Anonymous

A: No. Well, maybe. From the time they appeared at the ranch to the time they appeared on the live reunion, not one of the 13 second-season contestants who showed up to the reunion gained weight. It’s certainly possible that their weights went up or down during that time, though.

Nick, however, refused to appear at the reunion, and also did not give his updated weight when the show checked in on him after he was eliminated, so we don’t know how much he lost or gained. Kathryn came the closest to gaining weight, as she lost only one additional pound since leaving the ranch.

Here’s the breakdown of how much weight the contestants lost from their first day on the ranch to the live weigh in, along with the percentage of weight loss:

  • Ruben: 278 to 197, 81 pounds lost, 29.14%
  • Kathyrn: 217 to 201, 16 pounds lost, 7.37%
  • Ryan: 225 to 147, 78 pounds lost, 34.67%
  • Suzanne: 229 to 142, 87 pounds lost, 37.99%
  • Jen: 267 to 176, 91 pounds lost, 34.08%
  • Pete: 401 to 216, 185 pounds lost, 46.13%
  • Mark: 358 to 193, 165 pounds lost, 46.09%
  • Shannon: 257 to 149, 108 pounds lost, 42.02%
  • Dr. Jeff: 370 to 217, 153 pounds lost, 41.35%
  • Andrea: 220 to 145, 75 pounds lost, 34.09%
  • Seth: 291 to 168, 123 pounds lost, 42.27%
  • Suzy: 227 to 132, 95 pounds lost, 41.85%
  • Matt: 339 to 182, 157 pounds lost, 46.31%    —A.D.

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.