Celebrities won’t get rich by winning Dancing With the Stars, as the prize is the shiny Mirror Ball trophy and the bragging rights that come with being victorious in the grueling competition. But they can make some serious money, especially as the stars progress further along in the show.
In 2019, Variety reported that DWTS contestants receive $125,000 for the pre-show rehearsal period, as well as for the first two weeks of competition. Stars earn additional pay bumps the longer they remain in the hunt, with sources telling the publication that the most a contestant can earn is $295,000.
It appears that winner’s pay may have gone down over time, as the show’s ratings have declined in recent years. In 2010, Gawker reported that stars were paid on a sliding scale, having the same information that the baseline pay is $125,000 for being cast and appearing on the first two weeks of the show.
The site elaborated that if a celebrity made it to the third episode, they could land a $10,000 bonus and another $10,000 if they were not voted off before episode 4. Episodes 5 and 6 could score one an additional $20,000 each, and stars would receive an extra $30,000 in their pockets for the seventh and eighth episodes, respectively.
If a star made it to the last episode and became one of the final three competitors, that’s another $50,000, according to the site. That means both the winner and the runners-up would leave with $360,000, not to mention their new rocking body from all that exercise.
On top of all that, they’ll also likely reenergize the celeb following that the stars already had — or even find a new one. The larger the following the star has on social media sites like Instagram, the more they can leverage that audience into even bigger paydays from companies who want to partner with them for sponsored posts or other ventures.
Their pro partners are paid far less, but it’s still a good salary and an elevated profile for a professional dancer. Reel Rundown reports that in the early days of DWTS, the dancers received $1,600 per episode, though now they can earn as much as $5,200. The site claims that the average professional dancer’s salary is close to $100,000 for the full season, which includes hours of grueling practice time. More popular fan-favorite pro dancers can reportedly negotiate for higher pay.
If you’re one of the show’s judges or hosts, well, forget about it. Reel Rundown reports that the judges Len Goodman and Carrie Anna Inaba are rumored to make around $1.2 million per season.
In the same report, OK magazine claimed Tom pocketed $3 million for hosting two seasons per year. It’s unclear what Tyra’s salary is, but it must be pretty sweet. She scored an executive producer credit on the show when she signed on, in addition to her hosting duties and having her famous name associated with DWTS.
It’s no wonder that plenty of celebs are clamoring to get on the show. Not only does it seem like tons of fun, but it also just comes with tons of money. Now if they’d just make a spin-off called Dancing With the Average American, we’d be a shoo-in for the role.