The Hills returns tonight without Lauren Conrad but with Kristin Cavallari, and that change is saving MTV $35,000 an episode. That’s according to cast member salary information published by The Daily Beast that says Lauren was making $125,000 an episode, while Kristin will make $90,000, which is less than her new co-stars. They started making these six-figure per-episode salaries during the start of season five, which continues tonight.
The only people quoted on the record in the story are Spencer–who also has the lowest per-episode salary–and the show’s executive producer, Adam DiVello, who wouldn’t comment on salaries but said the cast “has a value to our fans. Kids thinks of [the cast] as their own friends… It’s been a long ride with these characters, and as you go along, you get more and more invested.”
The Daily Beast’s story also reports on the general money-making machine that is The Hills, and while its cast members get five figures to just make appearances, they have not always succeeded in turning their fame into cash. The site reports that “Montag and Pratt will likely lose money on Montag’s album, which they are self-financing,” and also notes that Lauren’s “first, eponymous fashion collection sputtered.”
Here’s what the report claims each cast member makes (or made):
- Lauren Conrad: $125,000 per episode ($2.5 million a year)
- Kristin Cavallari: $90,000 per episode
- Audrina Patridge: $100,000 per episode
- Lauren “Lo” Bosworth: $100,000 per episode
- Heidi Montag: $100,000 per episode
- Spencer Pratt: $65,000 per episode
- Brody Jenner: $45,000 per episode
Assuming 20 episodes a year, when Lauren was on the show, MTV was spending over a half a million dollars per episode on the cast alone.