The general public’s fascination surrounding how much reality TV stars are paid is nothing new – which is exactly why whispers of the compensation that Masterchef contestants receive has been met with much enthusiasm.

An article from the Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that contestants who appeared on the show in 2013 received an allowance of just $630 per week. Furthermore, contestants were allegedly required to pay the show’s production company, Shine, 15 per cent commission from any media career income they earnt until their contracts expired.

The paperwork, obtained by SMH, banned contestants from appearing as a host or guest on TV, radio or online shows and talent contests ‘‘relating to your cooking/food preparation abilities’’ without prior permission for 15 months after the final episode of the show screens.

While $630 is only slightly more than the minimum wage of $583 a week for an entry level cook at the time, Masterchef contestants appearing on earlier seasons reportedly fared even worse.

Despite being Australia’s highest rating TV show in 2011, it was reported by at the time that contestants received just $500 a week for their time.

“It’s enough to survive to pay bills and things like that, but I’m not sure about a mortgage,” former contestant Billy Law told the publication. “I’m lucky I don’t have a mortgage.”

He added: “We didn’t see it as tough when we were in production,” he said. “But we probably will see it once we’re out of the competition. That’s when the reality hits and it’s then the time to start looking for jobs and to start making money again.”

Love Film & TV?

Get the latest Film & TV news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Reality TV contestants are made to sign strict contracts before appearing on the show, and the regulations usually stipulate that they aren’t able to share how much they receive for their appearances. While there is no information about how much the contestants on the current season of Masterchef get, some other former reality TV contestants have gone rogue and discussed their compensation.

Liam Cooper, who was on MAFS in 2019, told So Dramatic podcast that participants on the show only received a $150 budget per day and had to pay for all of their own clothes, including their hair and makeup.

Abbie Chatfield, who came runner up on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor told listeners on her radio show Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield that she was paid $10,000 in total to appear on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor.

Masterchef starts tonight, April 18th at 7:30pm on Channel 10.

For more on this topic, follow the Film & TV Observer.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine