How Much Does the Bachelor Make? Zach’s Six-Figure Salary Will Surprise You

Zach Shallcross, "The Bachelor" 2023
Photo: ABC/Nino Muñoz.

If you’re a member of Bachelor Nation, you may have wondered how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette make per episode or season as leads of the ABC franchise.

From Matt James to Michelle Young to Peter Weber, there have been dozens of Bachelors and Bachelorettes over the years, and each of them has a different salary, depending on how good their lawyers are and when their season aired. (Though the Bachelor franchise is one of the most-watched TV shows now, it wasn’t until a couple seasons in that the series became the ratings monster we know today.) Still, while there are a lot of factors that determine a Bachelor or Bachelorette’s salary, most leads make around the same money because of a flat fee that ABC starts each Bachelor and Bachelorette at. (More on that later.)

So how much do the Bachelor and the Bachelorette make? Read on to find out the salaries of some your favorite Bachelor Nation stars. (Click here to read about how much Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants make.)

How much do the Bachelor and the Bachelorette make?

Zach Shallcross, "The Bachelor" 2023

Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin.

How much do the Bachelor and Bachelorette make? According to Reality Steve, the current standard rate for Bachelors and Bachelorettes is $100,000. Though we can’t know for sure, this means that many of our recent favorite leads (Ben Higgins, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Rachel Lindsay) likely made around $100K for their seasons, which isn’t bad for two months worth of work. Season 14 Bachelorette contestant Jason Tartick confirmed in a podcast in May 2021 that he and his cast mates, Colton Underwod and Blake Horstmann, were all offered $100,000 to be The Bachelor. Still, though most Bachelors and Bachelorettes make at least $100,000 these days, that wasn’t always the case. And, like most jobs, there are some Bachelors and Bachelorettes who have been able to negotiate more money than their peers. Some also made less than the standard. Dean Unglert, a contestant on The Bachelorette season 12, revealed in a past interview that he was offered $75,000 to be the Bachelor. Though we don’t know all of them, read about the Bachelor and Bachelorette salaries we know ahead.

Emily Maynard — The Bachelorette, Season 8

Emily Maynard

Image: ABC/Rick Rowell.

Salary: $250,000

Emily, who was the season 8 Bachelorette in 2012, is often cited as one of the highest-paid Bachelors or Bachelorettes. In Touch reported at the time that Emily, thanks to intense negotiations, was paid to star as the lead of The Bachelorette, which was more than any other Bachelor or Bachelorette at the time. “The producers have completely changed the format this season in order to meet Emily’s demands,” a source told In Touch at the time.

In Touch also reported that Emily was also specific about the type of men she wanted on her season. “She wanted only the best-looking, most mannered guys,” the source said. “She’s whittling it down to a handful of candidates who she will spend a lot more time with. If she doesn’t like a guy, he’s gone.”

Ashley Hebert — The Bachelorette, Season 7

Ashley Hebert

Image: ABC/Rick Rowell.

Salary: $30,000 – $100,000

Ashley, who was the season 7 Bachelorette in 2011, has had a lot of controversy around her Bachelorette salary. Us Weekly reported at that the time that Ashley made $30,000 for her time as the Bachelorette, which would’ve been $70,000 less than her peers at that time. Reality Steve, however, countered Us Weekly’s reporting and wrote in a blog post at the time that Ashley made around the standard $100,000. “I’m sorry, but Ashley would have to be the worst negotiator in the history of negotiations if she ever accepted that gig for $30k,” he wrote at the time.

Meredith Phillips — The Bachelorette, Season 2

Meredith Phillips


Salary: $10,000

As one of the first Bachelorettes, Meredith’s salary wasn’t much. She starred as the season 2 Bachelorette in 2004. In Bachelor reporter Amy Kaufman’s 2018 book, Bachelor Nation, Kaufman reports that Meredith was paid $10,000 for her time as the Bachelorette more than a decade ago. The salary is about a tenth of what leads make today. In the book, Kaufman writes that it would be “incredibly rare for someone to make less than six figures” today.

How much do Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants get paid?

While $100,000 isn’t going to make a Bachelor or a Bachelorette millionaire, it’s still more than what contestants make for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. So how much do Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants get paid? The answer is nothing. Yup—Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants aren’t paid anything.

Not only that, but contestants have to pay for their styling themselves (those rose ceremony suits and dresses aren’t cheap!), which is why many contestants walk away from their time on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette with serious debt. “I know that there are women in the past who cashed out their 401(k)s for the show,” Tv blogger Dana Weiss told Mic in 2016. “Some have gone into serious credit card debt.” This isn’t to mention Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants quit their job to appear on the reality TV series.

How much do Bachelor in Paradise contestants get paid?

How much do Bachelor in Paradise contestants get paid? Well, according to a 2017 report by Reality Steve, there are ways a Bachelor in Paradise contestant can get paid: per day, per episode and a flat rate. According to Reality Steve, most contestants are paid for each day they film or for each episode they’re in, while more more popular Bachelor and Bachelorette alumni can negotiate a flat rate salary for the whole time they’re on the show.

As for how much Bachelor in Paradise contestants make, Reality Steve reported that in season 1, contestants made between $7,000 to $15,000 total. However, that number has gone up. In an interview on the “Trading Secrets” podcast in May 2021, Dean Unglert, a contestant from The Bachelorette season 13 with Rachel Lindsay, revealed that he was offered $400 per day to star on Bachelor in Paradise season 4.

“They hit me up and they were like, ‘Hey, do you want to do Bachelor in Paradise, this other show that pays $400 a day, and you could be there for up to 30 days,’ something like that,” Dean recalled. “So I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, great. Four hundred bucks a day, 30 days, $12,000, that’s fantastic.” After discussing the offer with his friends, Dean asked ABC for $800 per day before he settled with a salary of $600 per day. Given that Bachelor in Paradise films for around three weeks, the rate would’ve paid Dean around $12,600 if he stayed for the whole time.

“They’re like, ‘Well, you should get more money because you’re kind of like the guy coming off the show… you’re who they want most from your season to go to Paradise, minus like [runner-up] Peter [Kraus], obviously,’” Dean said. “At that point, I was like, out of principle, I just wanted them to pay—it could have been one dollar more—out of principle, I wanted them to pay me more than they were offering everybody else just cause I thought I was hot shit for some reason.”

Jason Tartick, a contestant from The Bachelorette season 14 with Becca Kufrin, also revealed in the same podcast that he was asked to be on Bachelor in Paradise. Though he never starred on the show, he disclosed that he negotiated a $600-per-day salary with a guaranteed $5,000 check if he didn’t make it past the first week.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are available to stream on Hulu. Here’s how to watch it for free.

"Bachelor Nation" by Amy Kaufman

Image: Courtesy of Penguin Books.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

To get more of an inside scoop, check out Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, for a deep dive into the Bachelor franchise. The book uncovers the secrets of Bachelor Nation, from how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are paid to the rules contestants have to follow, that producers don’t want fans to know. It’s a must-read for any Bachelor Nation member.

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