Can you tell me what the stars are paid for being a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars”? Also, what sort of compensation do the professional dancers receive and is there any bonus for how they finish?
—N. Kipp, East Moline, Ill.
Neither the producers of “Dancing With the Stars” nor ABC executives have released any information on how much the participants of the hit dance competition get compensated. But two cases involving contestants that have gone to court—Shawn Johnson, when she was a minor and her contract had to be approved by a judge, and Heather Mills, during her divorce from Paul McCartney— have disclosed some salary information.
The initial amount guaranteed in Johnson’s case was $125,000, but that contract also includes the stipulation to train for a minimum of 20 hours per week, which begins several weeks prior to the season premiere.
If a celeb makes it to weeks three and four, they get an additional $10,000. For weeks five to seven, an additional $20,000 is added. Thirty thousand dollars are added for weeks eight to nine, and the stars that make it to the last two weeks earn an additional $50,000. That brings the total to a possible $365,000 for those lucky and talented enough to make it to the finale.
The salaries for the professional dancers are much less. It was once reported that the pros made $1,600 per episode in the early days of “DWTS,” but now they can earn as much as $5,200, depending on their popularity.