Nothing in life is free — and that includes appearing on reality TV. While not everyone can win grand cash prizes, that doesn’t mean contestants on The Challenge go home empty-handed. However, the longer a contestant appears on the competition show, the more likely they’ll be paid more for their work and, of course, their ability to bring viewers back week after week. Keep scrolling to see how much money The Challenge cast makes.

Do Only Winners of The Challenge Get Paid?

Every contestant on The Challenge is paid for appearing on the show, even if they don’t make it past the first elimination. But that doesn’t mean everyone takes home the same paycheck every week. 

A source previously confirmed to Us Weekly that newbies on the show make a $1,000 stipend a week. The insider also revealed that returning players, who previously weren’t the top winner, can take home between $3,000 and $5,000. 

Meanwhile, “elite” players, like fan favorites and winners such as CT Tamburello and the recently eliminated Ashley Mitchellcould make $80,000 just for appearing on the first day — win or lose.

According to contestant Tori Deal, she wouldn’t appear on the show if there wasn’t a chance of a paycheck.  

“Another question that I have been getting a lot, and maybe you have been getting a lot too, is, ‘Do we get paid?’” Tori said on MTV’s Official Challenge Podcast. “Don’t know if we can really answer it, but we’ll give you this much. I promise you, we don’t go on the show for free. My ass is not going on a 40-foot platform, hanging over a helicopter, eating cabbage for no reason, OK. You’re gonna pay me. And the more shows we do, the more we get paid.”

Do Contestants on The Challenge Have Other Jobs?

While the “elite” players may not need to supplement their income with a side gig, contestants who aren’t often cast do have “normal jobs,” Cara Maria Sorbello told Us Weekly. Cara, herself, teaches kickboxing when she is not filming, even if she doesn’t need the money. Other cast members, like Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, use their reality TV fame to explore other opportunities for income — Johnny has his own clothing line. Some move on to other jobs in the limelight, including Mike “The Mix” Mizanin, who is currently signed to WWE and appeared on season 30 of Dancing With the Stars.

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