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‘DWTS’ Contestants Make Way More Than Their Partners—Here Are Their Salaries

You might be surprised at how much these contestants earn.
ABC/Eric McCandless.

For celebrities who join the cast of Dancing With the Stars, the perks don’t just end at all free press that comes with the show. Their Dancing With the Stars salaries definitely sweeten the deal—especially when compared to how much their pro dance partners get paid.

We’re diving into the details of how much everyone gets paid on Dancing With the Stars below, but for those who are new to the series, here’s what to know first. Dancing With the Stars, which premiered in June 2005, has aired on ABC for more than 30 seasons and seen hundreds of celebrities take to the dance floor since. But the premise for the beloved dancing competition dates back even before that. DWTS is the American version of the British television series, Strictly Come Dancing, which started airing on the BBC in 2004. Since its premiere, the Dancing With the Stars franchise has expanded to over 74 countries, including India, Brazil, France, New Zealand and many more.

The competition is pretty straightforward: Celebrities are paired with professional ballroom dancers, and together they practice themed choreographed routines each week. The pairs then go on to perform their routines in front of a panel of judges, who each score their performances on a scale of one to 10. Viewers in the audience and at home are also given a chance to place their votes for their favorite dancers. These votes by the judges and viewers are combined, and the couple with the lowest cumulative score is eliminated. This process continues for each round until the final, when one couple is finally declared the winner and takes home the Mirrorball Trophy.

Now that we know exactly how Dancing With the Stars works, we can dive into those Dancing With the Stars salaries. For everything there is to know about how much the contestants, pros, hosts and judges make on Dancing With the Stars, just keep on reading below.

How much do Dancing With the Stars contestants make?

Dancing With the Stars contestants are estimated to receive a starting salary of $125,000, according to Variety. This salary includes their rehearsal period, which takes place for 20 hours a week for several weeks before the start of the season, along with the first two weeks of their competition on the show. But their earnings don’t have to stop there.

For stars who make it past the first two weeks of the competition, they can expect to see their salary increased biweekly. Celebs who make it to weeks three and four get an additional $10,000 per week, while those who make it to week five get a bonus of $15,000. Weeks six and seven bring an added $20,000 per week. Those who last until weeks eight and nine receive an extra $30,000 per week.

Things get even sweeter for those lucky enough to make it to the semi-finals and the finale. According to multiple reports over the years, celebrities at this stage in the competition bring home an additional $50,000, plus the Mirror Ball trophy if they win the competition. Altogether, these weekly bonuses can add up to over $360,000 depending on the length of the season. However, according to one report by Variety, the most a contestant can make in the competition has been capped at $295,000 as of 2020.

How much do Dancing With the Stars pros make?

Multiple reports have estimated that the Dancing With the Stars pros make only $1,200 per episode when first starting out on the series. That said, their pay apparently increases per episode and depending on how long they have worked for DWTS, with returning pros reportedly making anywhere up to $5,200 an episode. Just as celebrities have an estimated salary cap per season, their pro partners reportedly make no more than $100,000 per season.

How much do Dancing With the Stars judges get paid?

Although there are no exact figures for how much the Dancing With the Stars judges get paid per season, there are reports that they made an estimated $250,000 per episode during the early days of DWTS. After season 2, however, it has been reported that some judges can make up to $1.2 million per season, as per ReelRundown.

How much do the hosts make on Dancing With the Stars?

While there have yet to be reports on how much host Tyra Banks is making, former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron was reportedly earning an estimated $150,000 per episode while hosting the series from 2005 to 2019. This means his salary would have amounted to anywhere between $1.5 to $1.8 million per season of Dancing With the Stars.

Dancing With the Stars season 30 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Here’s how to watch it for free.

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