Somewhere out there is an industry where a person can be compensated for marrying a stranger, voting someone off the island, race across the globe or undergo extreme plastic surgery.
That industry is Reality TV.
Reality TV is an alternate universe where people who should never receive a recording contract, receive recording contracts. These shows have been giving ordinary people their fifteen minutes of fame for over a decade.
What is less commonly known is that cast members frequently receive compensation in the form of per diem payments while on the show. And many reality stars go on to make big bucks through endorsement deals, photo shoots and appearances. Snooki, anyone?
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a reality start, below you’ll find 12 shows currently casting…
1. Jersey Shore
While few shows pay cast members enough to retire early, special considerations are made for those willing to party their reputations into oblivion. Cast members on MTV’s Jersey Shore earn up to $100,000 per episode. All you need is to look under 30 and be over 21.
What you can expect as a cast member: Drinking, sleeping, drinking, tanning, drinking, partying, drinking
2. Women of South Boston
What do you think is the most important element needed to secure a casting spot on this show? Answer: Location! Location! Location! The show is looking for women residing in South Boston and are between the ages of 21 and 35.
What you can expect as a cast member: Talking about the Red Sox and partying
3. Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition
Good news. It looks like Extreme Makeover may be putting down the scalpel and liposuction equipment for something a little more wholesome. For the new weight loss edition, you get your own personal trainer for one year and lose a lot of weight. Best of all, you get to keep all of your own body parts. I don’t see much of a downside to this one.
You must be at least 18 years of age and need more than a few pounds to lose.
What you can expect as a cast member: Push-ups, sweating and dieting
4. and 5. The Bachelor/Bachelorette
Years later and ABC is still handing out roses. If you are single (and, in case you are wondering how to define single):
“… not currently be involved in a committed intimate relationship, which includes: any marital relationship (whether or not the parties are separated or currently in the process of divorcing or annulling such marriage); any co-habitation relationship involving physical intimacy; or a monogamous dating relationship more than two (2) months in duration.”
Then you can qualify to date some random man/woman for a chance to fall in love/be on TV.
What you can expect as a cast member: Dating, roses, fighting with roommates
6. The Biggest Loser
If you have a few pounds to lose, NBC wants to put you on a giant scale. For 13 seasons, those with at least 85 pounds to shed have reduced their round figures for TV audiences. This coming 14th season could be your big shot to lose big.
What you can expect as a cast member: Weighing, crying, losing
7. America’s Got Talent
No, The Hoff is not on the show anymore. It’s the guy who did the voice of the fuzzy gremlin. However, one key ingredient has never changed. If you can put on a performance, you can compete. The show is holding auditions in 7 cities and only two are left.
What you can expect as a cast member: Performing your talents over and over again
8. The Sing-Off
If you thought it was hard for the judges on American Idol to find one decent singer in a major, metropolitan city, now there’s The Sing-Off. The idea here is that instead of one great singer, judges will find a whole group of them, singing together. This one is a team effort so if you want you apply, you’ll have to find 4-15 better singers. The larger the group, the more likely that they will be able to drown out your flat baritone.
What you can expect as a cast member: Song, dance, Glee references
9. America’s Next Top Model
Tall people can reach the top shelf in the kitchen and hang the star on the Christmas tree. Provided you are at least 5’ 7”, minus any heels you may be wearing, you can also apply to be judged by Tyra Banks. No prior modeling experience is preferred.
What you can expect as a cast member: Tight fitting clothes, comments about your looks and weight, basically Jr. High all over again
10. Love in the Wild
It’s true that Tarzan and Jane had a special sort of love, but would the love have flourished without the jungle? NBC’s Love in the Wild seems bent on answering that very question. The formula: place American singles in a perfectly good jungle and watch the sparks fly.
Apparently, adventure dating is not for you if you aren’t between the ages of 25 to 35 or are in a relationship.
What you can expect as a cast member: Tropical landscapes, moderate temperatures, mosquito nets
11. and 12. Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef
Now Gordon Ramsay has offered up yelling sessions for anyone in the general public. If you are a professional, you walk through door number one: Hell’s Kitchen. If you are an amateur, you walk through door number two: MasterChef.
What you can expect as a cast member: Food fights, recipes, shouting hosts. Also, I’m pretty sure your attorney would recommend a good therapist and a life insurance policy before appearing with Gordon Ramsay.
Your Turn: If a producer approached you and was willing to pay you to appear on their reality show, would YOU do it?
Good luck Penny Hoarders!