Kid Nation will give one kid $20,000 each episode

One of the 40 kids abandoned in a ghost town for the upcoming reality series Kid Nation will win $20,000 at the end of each of the show’s episodes.

CBS, which announced the identities of the 40 kids (who range in age from eight to 15 and are referred to as “pioneers”) says that “all 40 kids will gather at an old fashioned Town Hall meeting where they will not only debate the issues facing Bonanza City, but also decide which worthy Pioneer will be awarded the coveted Gold Star, worth $20,000.” No one is eliminated, although they can leave voluntarily.

One of the kids, 14-year-old Eric from New Jersey, says the show was overall a positive experience. “This definitely was not an easy decision. I knew it was going to be tough. The last place I imagined myself, ‘Yeah, I’d be out in the desert with other kids. … Every day, you knew you had to do everything for yourself. We got an appreciation for all the things that make your life easier. Nothing made your life easier. We had to walk a quarter-mile to get water from this pump. You don’t consider how fortunate you are to have running water,” he told the New York Daily News.

He also tells the show’s critics that he can understand their negative impression of the Lord of the Flies-style concept. “I’d have to say, if I was at home and I’d seen these commercials for the show, I’d think it was pretty crazy, too. It was like an incredible dynamic. The little kids were like brothers, the older kids were like parents. It wasn’t as tough as it seems,” he said. “You’ve got to see it, it’s inspirational. You’ve got to watch it to know how it all works out.”

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