Tontine contestants will give up their life savings to fund the show’s $10 million prize

Tontine, the forthcoming reality show that promises the biggest prize in reality TV history–$10 million–will get that cash from the show’s contestants, who will give up their life savings to participate.

Bostonist discovered that twist attending an open casting call in Boston, where the show’s casting director, Tad Frank, and host, Rob Mariano, told potential contestants, “The 10 million that’s up for grabs is not coming from the network. It’s coming from the contestants,” and then asked auditioners, “Are you going to be able to walk with 14 other people’s life savings?”

As the site notes, “Ten million split 15 ways is about $666,667, and few people have that kind of net worth. … One of Tontine’s staffers, Phill Gunter, said that the network airing the show — no one is revealing the network yet — will fill in the gap once the cast is assembled. Personality and a willingness to risk everything is what’s most important.”

Bostonist also reports that the show will film “for 100 days — the longest shoot in reality-show history — and the cast and crew will visit all the continents, including Antarctica.”

Representing on Reality TV: Bostonist Visits the Tontine Auditions [Bostonist]
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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.