With 40 seasons out, Survivor is one of the longest-running reality TV show out there. The show operates on a simple premise that apparently never grows old. 

The premise is: a number of contestants are stranded on a remote island somewhere, and they have to try and survive.

But, of course, reality TV requires a dash of drama, so the contestants have to face challenges along the way. 

At the end of the road is the million-dollar cash prize for the lone survivor, but what about the rest of them?

Do Survivor contestants get paid?


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The answer might not be very surprising: yes. The Survivor contestants get paid, but the question remains, 

How Much Do Survivor Contestants Make?

Regular watchers of the iconic game show know already, the winner of Survivor takes home the 1 million dollars cash prize. 

As disclosed by former contestant Johnny Fairplay back in 2018 (via US Weekly), the amount of money that the contestants make depends on how long they stay on the show. 

So the first person to get eliminated makes the least amount of money, and by extension, the last one to go makes the most. 

Fairplay said that the first person to be eliminated made approximately $3,500, and the jury members made about $40,000.

If they make it to the last two spots, they'd make $100,000. 

For Winners at War, for which the $1 million prize was doubled, each player was reportedly guaranteed $25,000, plus the standard of $10,000 for appearing on the reunion.


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The Breakdown Revisited In 2021

While this provided a decent breakdown of the pay structure, in 2021, Corinne Kaplan, who competed on Survivor: Gabon and Survivor: Caramoan, broke it down even further. 

During a conversation with Dear Media's Trading Secrets podcast in September 2021, she reaffirmed that the money a contestant made was directly proportional to the time they spent on the show. 

However, there was a catch. The payout was not the same every season. 

"They explain it to you in very basic terms — not hard numbers," she disclosed, "The same amount of money exists no matter how many players there are."

She then confirmed that each star made about $10,000 when they returned for the live reunion. 

In direct contrast with Fairplay, Kaplan claimed that the first person to be voted out made only $2,500. 


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She then added, 

$1 million is first place, second place is $100,000. Third place is $75,000, then $65K, $55K, $45K. Once you stop the jury, those people only make a few thousand and there’s, like, $100 difference between them.

What Does The Jury Mean?

For those unaware, the jury is the name given to the set of eliminated castaways who return to witness the remainder of the competition at the Tribal Council. 

The information they manage to gather from these visits would supposedly help them decide who to vote for when the time to select the grand prize winner came around. 

They are usually forbidden from communicating with the contestants except for the Final Tribal Council, where they are allowed to address the finalists and ask them questions.