You might think landing a spot on a reality show is a quick ticket to getting rich and famous, but as it turns out, that might not be the case. Oh, sure, it’s definitely worked out well for the Kardashians, but if you’re on 90 Day Fiancé, well, you’re not exactly so lucky. Plenty of the stars asked for donations or shared their money struggles, and that might be because their TLC paychecks are honestly pretty wimpy. Some members of the cast apparently don’t get paid at all.
In May 2018, Chris Thieneman and his wife Nikki Cooper participated in the show in David Toborowsky and now-wife Annie Suwan‘s storyline. Nikki and Chris were some of the first to open up about it, claiming the show didn’t pay them a dime for filming. Later that year, Radar Online claimed the show’s regularly featured stars don’t have it much better.
When you’re on the TV show, paychecks work on a sliding scale. “Before the 90 Days cast makes $500 to $1,000 per episode” each, a source told Radar. “90 Day Fiancé pays their cast members $1,000 to $1,500 per episode.” Landing a spot on 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? will score you a little more cash, but it “doesn’t go up much more.” And that’s just for the American members of the cast.
As for the foreigners uprooting their lives to come to the states on a K-1 visa, they reportedly don’t make anything at all. “They can’t even get paid because they have to wait for a work permit,” the source revealed. “It’s, of course, different if filming takes place in their country,” but it’s clear no one is laughing all the way to the bank.
After all, just look at Danielle Jbali (née Mullins), one of the most famous members of the cast who appeared on both 90 Day Fiancé and Happily Ever After? Despite having two reality shows under her belt now, she struggled with money problems and asked for prayers amid financial hardships.
How big are reality star salaries? Jason Tartick breaks it down with Us Weekly editors.
This is even more shocking when you consider the success of the franchise. Sure, a rotating cast means stars only have so much leverage as seasons go on, but when you compare their paychecks to the Duggars scoring $25,000-$40,000 per episode of Counting On, well, it’s easy to see why so much of the cast is struggling.
Among the pay scale, another thing cast members agree to when signing on to join the show is thorough screening process. Amid the news of former 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days star Geoffrey Paschel‘s guilty verdict in a criminal trial stemming from a domestic violence incident with an ex in 2019, 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way star Corey Rathgeber revealed that there is a process cast members have to go through before they start filming.
“I’m actually surprised they let him on 90 Day Fiancé,” Corey wrote in a comment on blogger John Yates‘ Instagram post discussing the guilty verdict in October 2021. “[TLC does] extensive background checks.”
Scroll down to see what 90 Day Fiancé stars have said about their earnings.
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