Rolling in the dough! Reality TV shows can be grueling, awkward and time-consuming, but for many contestants, it’s more than worth it based on the prize money they can win at the end.
Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, who has won seven of his 20 seasons of MTV’s The Challenge, has taken home a whopping $1,184,720 in winnings. When it comes to an individual season win, The Challenge, has ranged in what the top competitor takes home, with the grand prize totaling $900,000, split between two people for 2021’s The Challenge: Double Agents.
Baking shows also have a wide variety of seed money, with some series only giving a cake stand to the champion and others awarding the top chef a restaurant job and salary. Talent competitions, however, have the most inconsistencies with regard to prizes.
For years, The Voice coaches have been vocal about how the winners of the singing competition don’t appear to get the proper support from the record label that signs them as part of their winner’s compensation package.
“We work with these artists and give them this tremendous workshop and get them to the end of the show, and I think the work that we do on the show is amazing,” former coach Adam Levine told reporters at a press conference for The Voice‘s season finale in December 2017. “We give these guys this incredible platform and this really rare thing, a lot of exposure and airtime. Once we pass the torch, it is the record label that completely destroys that.”
Blake Shelton chimed in, saying, “My last two winners never even had an album released.”
The country crooner put the blame squarely on the record label that NBC has teamed up with, noting that the singers themselves have the support from fans to warrant a big album release.
“They have a fan base by the time this show is over and the hardest thing, as all four of us [coaches] know, is to have fans,” Shelton explained. “Every single one of those guys have fans and [the record label] manages to take a gimme and completely ignore it and do it the wrong way. It is their fault.”
The “God’s Country” singer even went as far as to challenge Universal Records to pay attention to season 11 winner Jason “Sundance” Head and give him the platform he deserves.
“This is the guy that I think can break the mold and become a star out of this show. And I give my word that I’ll put my work in, and I know he will,” he added.
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Scroll down to see the reality show prize numbers from worst to best: