The 10 highest-paid cable reality stars

The Daily Beast has compiled a list of the 10 highest-paid reality stars, or at least those people who earn money only because they are famous. The list is lead by, surprise, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians brood; Kim Kardashian tops the list, and is followed by Lauren Conrad and The Real Housewives’ Bethenny Frankel. Kate Gosselin and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentin appear, too.

Considering previously published reports about reality TV star salaries, such as Ryan Seacrest’s insane $15 million paycheck from American Idol alone, the people on this list seem almost poor, but The Daily Beast only included people who “derive his/her fame from reality television,” not including competition shows (i.e. Top Chef), so they are “those who’ve cashed in on fame, versus talent … with a show that aired or was in production in 2010.” And they got their data “from dozens of discussions with industry professionals, agents, managers, and publicists, as well as published reports and public financial disclosures.”

This slideshow has details about each star makes their money, but here’s the short list:

  1. Kim Kardashian, $6 million
  2. Lauren Conrad at $5 million
  3. Bethenny Frankel, $4 million
  4. Audrina Patridge, $3.5 million
  5. Kate Gosselin, $3.5 million
  6. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, $3 million
  7. Khloe Kardashian, $2.5 million
  8. Kourtney Kardashian, $2.5 million
  9. Pauly D, $2 million
  10. Kendra Wilkinson, $2 million

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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, 36, 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.