Feeding 19 kids is no easy feat. Luckily for the stars of Counting On, money seems to be no issue. Thanks to TLC, the reality star family is apparently raking in the dough, so it’s no wonder the Duggars can afford to have a private jet and send their kids to countries like Switzerland and Greece for their honeymoons. But just how much money are they bringing in?
According to a report published by E! in 2009, reality producer Terence Michael said reality TV families earned about 10 percent of a show’s per-episode budget. At the time, Michael believed it cost TLC about $250,000 to $400,000 per episode to film 19 Kids and Counting — which would mean the Duggars could walk away with between $25,000 to $40,000 for a single hour of TV. And that’s for less than a week of work. The producer estimates it only takes four or five days to film each episode.
With 19 Kids and Counting seasons regularly featuring between 10 and 30 episodes, the family could’ve easily made more than $1 million per season. Of course, that was over 10 years ago. Considering the family’s paycheck likely went up over the years — and they may have had a chance to renegotiate their contract when Counting On started filming — they may make even more per episode today. Some sites suggest the Duggars could be making as much as 30 percent per episode based on how popular their show is.
Divided between all of the different stars, that may not actually be that much per person. Then again, Counting On alum Derick Dillard claimed in December 2019 that not everyone was getting a paycheck for their role on the show.
“For a long time, [wife Jill Dillard (née Duggar)] and I were under the impression that the family didn’t make any money from the show, but, rather, it was presented to us kids as something that was done as a ministry that TLC periodically subsidized in the form [of] reimbursements for things like gas, restaurants, travel, etc,” he claimed in an Instagram comment at the time. “[We thought there wasn’t] any actual pay on top of that.”
Derick believed only Jim Bob Duggar, the family patriarch, had an actual contract with the TV network. “[I] never had any contact with TLC,” he claimed. “All of the shows have been under his contract, and he is the only one with a contract.” In November 2019, he also alleged his father-in-law negotiated contracts “for everyone, but without telling anyone.”
Now that many of the kids are grown, they also seem to be making their own money as house flippers, car salesmen and Instagram influencers. One thing is for sure, though — it will always pay to be a reality star.
TLC has not yet responded to In Touch‘s request for comment.
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