In its current issue, Forbes names its Celebrity 100, a list of “the most powerful names in the business.” Five of those people–and thus five percent–are reality TV stars, and at least three owe their entire careers to reality TV. Among other things, the magazine says it considered “Web mentions on Google; press clips compiled by LexisNexis; TV/radio mentions by Factiva; and number of times a celebrity’s face appeared on the cover of 26 major consumer magazines.”
Closest to the top of the list is Apprentice star Donald Trump at #12, making $44 million a year. Despite his show’s slide, he “takes a cut of the show’s rich product-placement deals” and gets a salary; plus, he gets “as much as $1 million for a single appearance.”
Top Model host and executive producer Tyra Banks is ranked #84, with annual pay of $18 million. She “said goodbye to her lucrative Victoria’s Secret contract in December 2005 to concentrate on her two television ventures,” Forbes says.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest comes in at #88, with his salary of $12 million a year from his various ventures. Those include his gig with E! and his “syndicated radio show, a Los Angeles morning radio show, co-ownership of eight restaurants and a clothing line.”
Simple Life star Nicole Richie comes in at #95 with her $2 million a year in earnings, and it was her “media exposure,” not her “skimpy salary,” that helped her make the list.
Project Runway host and executive producer Heidi Klum is right behind Nicole at #96, although her $7 million in earnings this past year more than triple what Nicole made. After giving “birth, she strutted her well-toned body down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk,” and “earned her a rich contract renewal with the lingerie giant.”
Finally, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host and former Trading Spaces carpenter Ty Pennington comes in at #100, although he makes $6 million a year. He has “the highest ‘purchase influence’ of all the celebrities [NPD Group] surveyed.”