Big Brother is a reality TV game where competitors put their lives on hold to live in isolation from the rest of the world with strangers, all for a chance at winning big. It's a wild social experiment that requires a lot of sacrifices, but there is money to be made for participating. While they may not ultimately make as much as they did after leaving their day jobs, nearly everyone who plays the CBS reality series walks away with at least a little cash in their pockets.
How much does a Big Brother Houseguest make? Well, the answer is a bit complicated. While we don't have confirmed information about all pay rates from the show, there's enough chatter on the internet and from previous Houseguests to give a good idea of how much each contestant can get. Here's what we know about the pay structure and how even the first person out of the game can make a little money.
How Much BB Houseguests Are Paid To Be In The Game
Elena Davies, who was on Season 19, told Page Six back in 2021 that Houseguests are paid $1,000 a week for filming the show. That means that even the first person out of the game can make some money, which isn't bad for a week's work. Granted, they have to spend all that time sequestering before entering the game, so maybe it's still a raw deal. Once you're out of the game, the stipend stops, and it's unknown if being expelled from Big Brother eliminates it.
Many Houseguests often speak about "Just wanting to make it to the Jury House," and given that the stipend continues when you're in there, I can see why. For example, if you make the jury in Big Brother Season 25, you'd be sitting on around $14,000 at least before casting a vote for the winner. As for the winner and runner-up, stipends are negated since they both see a good chunk of prize money.
How Much Money Does America's Favorite Houseguest Make?
America's Favorite Houseguest is a distinctive honor of Big Brother, in which the viewers vote for the player they loved watching the most during the season. This is an honor that can go to literally anyone in the game, including the winner and runner-up. Unlike the stipend, the show won't take away this money, and the top players can add it to their total winnings.
As of Big Brother Season 23, the prize money earned for winning America's Favorite Houseguest sits at $50,000. That's quite a chunk of change to live on after the game, and maybe even time for most players to build an online following and quit their day jobs. Hey, if America already loves you, you might as well use it to get a ton of sponsorships and brand deals, right?
How Much Does Big Brother's Runner-Up Make?
I think there's something tragic for every player on a reality TV show who ends up finishing in second place after fighting tooth and nail to get there, but it always feels especially soul-crushing for Big Brother. They're ultimately at the mercy of the jury on whether or not they should win, and sometimes the jury isn't even aware of how good of a game they played. There are also instances where the jury is completely aware but is too bitter to give their former Houseguest the win over a competitor. There are plenty of examples for anyone who wants to check out awkward finales with a Paramount+ subscription.
While those moments on finale night can sting, the runner-up can always take solace in the fact that they do go home with a good deal of money when it's all said and done. As of Season 25, the runner-up will pocket $75,000. As previously mentioned, they're also eligible for the $50k for winning America's Favorite Houseguest and whatever prize money they get during the game. It's still not first place, but hey, much more money than the jurors received after not voting for them.
How Much Big Brother's Winner Makes
It takes a lot to make it to the Final Two chairs of Big Brother, and even then, the job is not done. Houseguests must convince their fellow Houseguests in the jury that they helped evict why they deserve the grand prize and hope they're persuasive enough to get the votes to be crowned the winner. With skill, charisma, and just a bit of luck, they might just stand tall and be announced as the winner of their season of Big Brother.
If you win Big Brother in 2023, you're looking at a grand prize of $750,000. As mentioned, you're still eligible for the $50,000 for America's Favorite Houseguest, and it's not rare for the winner to get that honor. In terms of game show prize money, this is on the lighter side of what other shows offer, as Survivor and America's Got Talent offer $1,000,000. Some former players have advocated for BB to bump up the winnings to the million offered by others, but there's no indication at this time the prize money is going to change anytime soon.
Players Can Win Money In Other Competitions
While it's never guaranteed when it will happen, Big Brother often holds competitions where Houseguests can win cash. These can happen as an alternative prize during HOH competitions or are awarded during veto competitions. The prize money can vary, but thousands of dollars are usually on the line. It's enough to tempt the Houseguests to pursue the money rather than what may be best for their games.
Going after prize money in the competition show is always a risk and can easily jeopardize the game of any Houseguest who pursues it. Other Houseguests in their alliance may feel like they're being selfish and not working toward the team goal and that those potentially at risk of leaving are foolish to put money over their survival in the house.
Occasionally, a Houseguest can get away with going after prize money with little backlash, but I would say that it's rare for the most part. In short, those pursuing prize money should try to be diplomatic or sneaky about it, or it could ruin their chances of winning.
Big Brother Season 25 is ongoing, and money is on the line. Watch the show online, and tune in for the live feeds to catch all the drama that the episodes won't get a chance to cover.