UPDATE 4/11/11: The Jersey Shore cast will be getting a hefty raise for Season 4. Click for details.
Move over, Speidi; you blew your fortune off The Hills in a matter of months, and there are new reality superstars in town. Ever wonder how much the macaroni rascals make per episode of Jersey Shore? It is the highest rated show in MTV history, after all, which would suggest it's nothing to scoff at. Allow us to break down for you the exponentially ballooning salaries of the guidos/guidettes lucky enough to land spots in the Shore house.
Season 1: A fledgling reality show following around a bunch of obnoxious Jersey brats gets off to a slow start; struggles in ratings. $5000 per episode for each of the cast members.
Season 2: After Snooki gets punched in the face during Season 1, ratings spike and Jersey Shore gains a steady cult following. $10,000 per episode for each of the cast members.
Season 3: The premiere shatters any and all MTV ratings records, and pulls in the same numbers as some of the highest-rated network shows. A whopping $30,000 an episode for breakout stars, Snooki, Pauly D, The Situation, and JWOWW. A little less for their counterparts.
Now, granted, it may be a little unfair that Jersey Shore pays its cast members depending on how well they do in the popularity contest (a standard by which we assume Angelina would have gotten paid in gratis STD tests if she stayed for Season 3), but Snooki, The Sitch, Pauly, and JWOWW all have slammin' agents and managers hustling for them.
In addition to what they get paid per ep, the Jersey Shore kids are able to charge more for their side business ventures due to their increasing popularity. Pauly D makes up to $80,000 a week DJing, with as much as $40,000 being asked per gig. Snooki rakes in up to $20,000 for red carpet appearances, and was even paid $11,000 to show up for two hours at a relatively modest New Jersey tanning salon. The Situation, the brand, proved to be a multi-million dollar business in 2010, and Mike, who also made some cash for his few weeks as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars this year (about $135,000), hopes to hit the one billion mark by the end of 2011.
Ronnie, Vinny,Sammi, Angelina, and Deena are all broke. Just kidding. Really, it's just that no one likes them.