60 Days In is now in the Netflix Top 10 series charts in the U.S. after being a hit for A&E for the past five years. On the reality TV show, volunteers go undercover into prisons to find evidence of illegal activity.
Given the 60-day occupation, during which they effectively had to give up their freedom and put themselves in danger, Netflix viewers wondered if the volunteers would be financially compensated for their time on the show.
One user of “60 Days In Reddit” gave an estimate of how much could be paid to the participants. They wrote: “I used to work in reality TV and in the emergency room, the budget for a one-hour show is usually around $375,000 per episode. That has to cover the costs for the production offices, the production team, post-production, location, etc. At most, you will be paid about $3,000 per episode.
Since the most recent season of the series (Season 6) had 18 episodes, this represents a potential payout of about $54,000 for the series.
Although this has not been confirmed by A&E (Washington Newsday has contacted a network representative and will update this article as we receive a response), this seems to be consistent with what we know about how much reality show candidates get paid.
On American Idol, for example, candidates are made to join the AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) union. This means that starting in October 2018, they will receive a minimum of $1,571 plus meals for the then two-hour Idol shows, $1,303 for one-hour shows, and $910 for half-hour results shows. US Weekly also reported that newcomers to MTV’s The Challenge earn $1,000 per week.
While some may think that the potential $3,000 per episode that volunteers earn from 60 Days In per episode is not that high, they do better than many other reality TV show participants when they earn that much. For example, RuPaul’s Drag Race participants earn $400 per episode for a contract that Reality Blur received. The Bachelor on the other hand does not pay any of his candidates – Bachelor in Paradise does.
Although we don’t know exactly how much 60 Days In participants are paid, we do know that the A&E show also pays money to the prison to shoot there. For example, the show paid $60,000 to Clark County Jail to film for 120 days – about $500 per day. The prison’s sheriff, Jamey Noel, told Indiana’s News and Tribune that the money “will be used to train and equip the prison.
60 Days In is now aired on Netflix.