‘Survivor’: What is the Bare Minimum Contestants are Paid for Competing?

by Shelby Scott

As fans of CBS’s hit competitive reality show, “Survivor,” well know, things get pretty intense among players. It makes sense as they all strive to score that million-dollar jackpot. And while we see the players subsiding on hard-earned food items and minimal shelter, we have to wonder how much the overnight stars get paid for playing. Thankfully, for you curious Outsiders, we have some answers here for you.

Before I dive in, know player incomes vary based on performance and their longevity on “Survivor.”

So theoretically, prior to winning the million-dollar prize, they can earn a modest $3,500 up to an impressive $100,000. That is, of course, depending on where individuals place in the season overall. Not to mention how long they last before getting booted off the island.

According to CinemaBlend, even characters that meet the first cuts at “Survivor’s” first boot can make up to $13,500. While the $3,500 basically comes as a sign-on payment. However, the additional $10,000 goes to any player who attends the finale/reunion for the first time. So, while it’s not $1 million, it’s not too shabby a payment as the show’s lowest ranking player(s).

Additionally, the ultimate goal of “Survivor” is to claim that million-dollar prize. However, those who make the final council still make out incredibly well.

The outlet stated that those players who fall in second place earn an impressive $100,000. Those who take third place earn a lesser, though still significant, $85,000. CinemaBlend also pointed out the benefits of simply making it to the final council as those second-and third-place “Survivors” can also claim that additional $10,000 for their first time on the show.

So, if you didn’t have drive to consider nominating yourself to the hit show before, there’s definitely greater incentive to do so now.

‘Survivor’ Faces Player Backlash Amid Underwear Decision

However, while “Surivor” castaways almost always come home with a sizable paycheck, the sacrifices those same players make are not always pleasant.

Take for example one of the show’s ongoing controversial topics. Several seasons ago, “Survivor” showrunners decided they would no longer provide bathing suits to contestants for the duration of their time on the show. Surely, the decision came as a way to shake things up on the CBS show and create change in a show formatted similarly from season to season.

Regardless, players, obviously, are not big fans of the decision. Specifically, repeat player Parvati Shallow has spoken out about the decision. She stated, “People need to get bathing suits. I put up a huge fight.” She continued, “I was like, ‘I just had a baby. I can’t be out here in my underwear.'”

However, showrunners seem none too sympathetic.

Prior to Parvati’s statement, another “Survivor” player, Karishma Patel, also spoke out about the hotly debated change. Her statement came as the decision to make the players wear underwear rather than swimsuits caused a nasty infection. And she’s one of several. Since showrunners made the change, there has been an onslaught of castaways who’ve complained of severe urinary tract infections.

Nevertheless, at least they’re provided sewing kits on “Survivor”…right?