Do '60 Days In' Participants Get Paid? Is It Enough?
A&E's television document series 60 Days In debuted on March 10, 2016, and is best recognized all across the world as The Jail: 60 Days In.
The concept of 60 Days In seems straightforward: go undercover in a prison to uncover faults in the facility's management.
The experience is far from easy for the chosen contestants, as the makers individually assign them a specific job to perform.
The participants are tasked with uncovering illegal and contentious acts that take place within prisons, which may go unnoticed by correctional officials, officers, and monitoring systems.
They may create a made-up identity and fabricate a cover story that includes the specifics of the fake criminal charges. And finally, participants are 'arrested' and taken to a particular prison based on their respective offenses.
While the show highlights the daily challenges that US prisoners face, it also puts innocent individuals in jeopardy for the sake of entertainment.
Many people might believe they know what it's like to be in jail, but these volunteers are actually thrown into the heart of a volatile socio-political environment that only those who have been in prison can truly comprehend.
So, it’s no wonder that viewers of the reality show are eager to see how much these competitors earn for essentially giving up their freedom for two months.
Do '60 Days In' Participants Get Paid?
Apparently, these contestants are not earning as much as you may imagine for participating in the show.
As per a former employee of the series who posted some behind-the-scenes information on Reddit, A&E budgets estimated at $375,000 per episode for a one-hour show.
The user explained that the budget covered, among other things, the expenditures of the production offices, personnel, post-production, and location.
“They are paid about $3,000 per episode at the most,” the user added.
Given that the most recent season of the show (Season 6) comprised 18 episodes, the program might get a payout of roughly $54,000 according to the Reddit post.
The two initial seasons of 60 Days In were shot in the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana, while Seasons 3 and 4 were shot in Atlanta's Fulton County Jail.
Similarly, Season 5 took place at the Pinal County Jail in Florence, Arizona while the sixth season was filmed in Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama.
Payout Comparisons to Other Reality Shows
Although A&E has not verified it yet, the pay appears to be in line with how much reality program competitors make.
For instance, American Idol contestants are required to join the AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) union by their team.
As of October 2018, they were paid a minimum of $1,571 with meals for two-hour Idol shows, $1,303 for one-hour presentations, and $910 for half-hour results programs.
According to US Weekly, newcomer contestants on MTV's The Challenge get paid $1,000 every week. According to a contract gained by Reality Blur, RuPaul's Drag Race competitors get $400 per episode. Meanwhile, The Bachelor does not pay any of its candidates, although Bachelor in Paradise does.
While some may assume that the $3,000 per episode for 60 Days In participants is not enough given the risk and circumstances, if the Reddit data is true, they are paid much better than many other reality TV show participants.