TLC Stars Who Were Paid Highly–And Some Who Were Not

TLC, which stands for The Learning Channel, specializes in reality shows and documentaries. Some fans of these shows wonder whether the stars get paid. Some receive tens of thousands of dollars from every episode. But on other shows, the guests do not get any money for their appearance. Read on to see the highest–and lowest–earning stars on TLC.

The Roloffs Make A Lot From Little People, Big World

Paulo Gabriel da Silva Barros and Katyucia Hoshino are now engaged and hope to be the world's smallest couple.
Paulo Gambale/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Paulo Gambale/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Little People, Big World chronicles the Roloff family in Portland, OR. The parents, Matt and Amy, and their son, Zach, have dwarfism. During an interview with E!, producer Terrence Michael said that the family earns 10% of each episode’s earnings. So if an episode made $10,000, the Roloffs would get $1,000.

But many sources estimate that the Roloffs receive more than that. Inquisitr estimates that the family makes between $7,000 and $10,000 after every episode. The show has a total of 21 seasons with ten to 12 episodes each; that’s a lot of money.

Jazz Jennings Gets $10,000 For Every Episode

Jazz Jennings of TLC's I Am Jazz speaks onstage during 2018 TLC's Give A Little Awards.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for TLC
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for TLC

In 2015, TLC approached transgender teenager Jazz Jennings about her book and YouTube career. They gave her a reality show, I Am Jazz, that has garnered a positive reception. She also earns a high salary; every episode gives her between $10,000 and $15,000.

But Jennings’s $300,000 net worth stems from her other businesses, such as her books, documentaries, short films, doll collection, and being the spokesmodel for Clean & Clear. I Am Jazz entered its sixth season in 2020 and will likely continue.

The Duggar Parents Earn A Lot From Their 19 Children

The Duggar family visits
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

The Duggar children first appeared in the show 19 Kids and Counting. After its cancellation in 2015, the series received a spin-off show focusing on Jesse and Jill. This show, Counting On, gives the Duggar family between $25,000 and $45,000 per episode.

Because the Duggars have been on reality TV for over a decade, their net worth has reached millions. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that they’re worth around $3.5 million. Jesse and Jill might make more as Counting On continues.

Long Island Medium Ended – Theresa Caputo Still Makes Money

During an interview, Theresa Caputo discusses
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Long Island Medium follows Theresa Caputo, a self-proclaimed medium who allegedly speaks with the dead. During its nine-year run, Long Island Medium was one of TLC’s most successful shows. According to The Sun, Caputo earned $25,000 per episode and has a $2.5 million net worth.

The show was quietly canceled during the 2020 pandemic. However, Caputa still makes money from $175 readings (which she claims go to charity), her books, and nationwide tours. Despite critics calling her practice a con, she continues to profit from it.

Guests On 90 Day Fiance Barely Get Paid

Paola Mayfield (L) and Russ Mayfield of '90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?' speak onstage during a TLC panel.
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.

90 Day Fiance follows couples who have applied for a K-1 visa and have 90 days to get married. Every episode features a different couple, and they do not get paid much. An anonymous source told Radar that every couple makes between $1,000 and $1,500 per episode.

However, not every person on the show gets paid. Chris Thieneman and Nikki Cooper, friends of David Toborowksy who appeared on the show, did not receive money for appearing in an episode.

Why Kody Brown’s Wives Have Side Jobs

Kody Brown and his four wives interview during a TLC panel.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sister Wives chronicles the lives of Kody Brown, his four wives, and 18 children. Like other TLC stars, Kody and his wives earn 10% of each episode cost, making $25,000 to $40,000 after each one. However, CheatSheet estimates that the Browns make only $400,000 annually.

Although this might sound like a lot, it does not go far for a 23-person family. Many of the wives make their own money on the side. For instance, Meri Brown runs her own bed and breakfast.

Whitney Way Thore’s Fabulous Life Made Millions

Whitney Thore speaks onstage during TCL's 'My Big Fat Fabulous Life' panel.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Discovery Communications
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Discovery Communications

My Big Fat Fabulous Life focuses on Whitney Way Thore, who weighed 380 pounds at the beginning of the show. Thore initially became known on her radio show before launching a TLC reality show in 2015. According to Soap Dirt, Thore likely made between $5,000 and $10,000 for each episode.

After seven seasons and 98 episodes, that money adds up. Her other business ventures, including her fitness business and book, have contributed to her $4 million net worth.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s Net Worth

Alana 'Honey Boo Boo' Thompson and her mother June Shannon (L) pose for photos, 2012.
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra

Alana Thompson, better known as Honey Boo Boo, first appeared on Toddlers & Tiaras. She and her mother, June, then got their own show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, in 2012. This is where most of their money comes from.

Although Thompson made no money from Toddlers & Tiaras, her spinoff show earned her between $15,000 to $20,000 per episode, according to People. As of 2021, her net worth is around $500,000, much higher than other TLC stars.

Even After LA Ink, Kat Von D Makes Good Money

LA Ink's Kat Von D tattoos a customer at High Voltage Tattoo.
Getty Images
Getty Images

After TLC’s show Miami Ink became successful, the program launched a spinoff show, LA Ink. This series focuses on High Voltage Tattoo and mainly features the artist Kat Von D. Although it is unclear how much she made per episode, she currently has a net worth of $14 million.

LA Ink ended in 2011, but Von D continued her business. Along with her tattoos, which she makes for $200 per hour, she also owns a self-named makeup line.

The Gift Card On What Not to Wear Does Not Go Far

The hosts of What Not to Wear look at a guest's fashion in the mirror.
TLC/What Not to Wear
TLC/What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear was a reality show based on the British show of the same name. In it, participants work with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly to get a wardrobe, hair, and makeup makeover. Surprisingly, these participants do not get paid–they end up paying!

At the end of each episode, contestants receive a $5,000 gift card to get more clothes. But one contestant told Reddit, “One of the producers told me the first day to NOT spend all $5000 and set aside some of the money for taxes.” Those taxes ended up being $2,000!

But What Not To Wear Hosts Are Worth Millions

Clinton Kelly and Stacy London interview in a Levi's store.
John Parra/WireImage for Paine PR
John Parra/WireImage for Paine PR

Although the guests on What Not to Wear do not get paid, the hosts do. The two hosts were Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, and although nobody knows how much they made per episode, the two have impressive net worths. Fashion consultant Stacy London is worth $8 million, while lifestyle consultant Clinton Kelly is worth $2 million.

By the time What Not to Wear ended in 2013, it had spanned ten seasons and 345 episodes. But in April 2019, TLC announced that it would eventually relaunch the show.

My 600-lb Life Guests Receive A Great Deal

Two guests of My 600-lb Life sit in a doctor's office.
TLC/My 600-lb Life
TLC/My 600-lb Life

During each episode of My 600-lb Life, a different obese person works to lose weight. According to Starcasm, these guests do get paid to appear on the show. Initially, they received $1,000 per episode, but this rose to $1,500 after the show got popular.

In addition, if a guest receives gastric bypass surgery on the show, that operation is paid for. If guests live far from Houston, they get an additional $2,500 stipend. It is unclear how much people living near Houston receive.

The Willis Family Are Some Of TLC’s Highest Paid Stars

The entire Willis family poses for a photo on their front porch.
TLC/The Willis Family
TLC/The Willis Family

The Willis Family is about a family of 14 from Nashville, Tennessee, who perform with singing and dancing. When the show aired between 2015 and 2016, the family made a lot of money. According to Starcasm, the family received $32,500 after each episode.

The first season was only seven episodes, and the second was six. The show got canceled in 2016 due to legal issues surrounding the father, Toby Willis. Had it kept going, these stars would have been some of the highest-paid on TLC.

Outdaughtered Stars Are Outpaid

The Bugsby family poses together in matching pajamas.
TLC/Outdaughtered
TLC/Outdaughtered

Outdaughtered follows Adam and Danielle Busby, the only parents in America to have all-girl quintuplets. Like other TLC reality stars, the parents receive 10% of the show’s budget. During an interview with In Touch, reality producer Terence Michael suggested that the Bugsby’s likely make between $25,000 to $40,000 per episode.

The In Touch article was released in 2017, right after the show started. Because Outdaughtered still airs today, it is fair to assume that these figures have risen.

How Much Do The 1,000-lb Sisters Get Paid?

The 1,000 lb sisters pose together against a purple background.
TLC/1,000-lb Sisters
TLC/1,000-lb Sisters

1,000 lb Sisters, which first aired in January 2020, follows two overweight sisters, Amy and Tammy Slaton. Although the show is widely popular, the sisters complained on Tik Tok that they were being underpaid.

Although they did not reveal what they earned, fans assumed that they got what 90 Day Fiance guests did, around $1,500. But Tammy has a net worth of $100,000, while Amy’s is around $250,000. That implies that the sisters make a bit more money per episode.

How Much Kate Gosselin Makes From Her Eight Children

Kate Gosselin poses with her eight children.
TLC/Kate Plus 8
TLC/Kate Plus 8

Kate Gosselin is best known for having twin children and sextuplets, which launched the TLC show Jon & Kate Plus 8. After her divorce, Gosselin made a spinoff series, Kate Plus 8. This new show brings in $40,000 after each episode, according to Radar Online.

But for a family of nine, this money does not go far. Gosselin’s net worth is around $500,000, which is pretty high, but not as high as other TLC stars.

The Little Couple Gets A Big Paycheck

Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein pose for a photo with their children.
TLC/The Little Couple
TLC/The Little Couple

The Little Couple features two people with skeletal dysplasia, Jennifer Arnold (3’2″ tall) and Bill Klein (four feet tall). Since it began in 2009, the show has run for a whopping 14 seasons and 134 episodes. According to In Touch, the couple earns between $25,000 to $40,000 every episode.

That is not the only source of the couple’s net worth. Jennifer Arnold is a neonatologist with a net worth of $3.5 million. As a businessman, Bill Klein makes $2.5 million.

Brides On Say Yes To The Dress Do Not Get Paid

Models show off dresses from the TLC show, Say Yes to the Dress.
Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

When Say Yes to the Dress first aired in 2007, it became incredibly popular. Today, there are several spinoff series that focus on different shops and locations. But do brides or their families get paid to appear on the show?

The answer is no. In fact, a bride pays to be on the show by putting down money for their gowns. At Kleinfeld (the original show location), brides usually pay at least $2,000 for a dress, sometimes well over $10,000.

But Say Yes To The Dress Hosts Make Money Off Of Brides

Fashion Director Randy Fenoli attends a promotion for
Ben Hider/Getty Images
Ben Hider/Getty Images

While the guests on Say Yes to the Dress do not get paid, the hosts do. Randy Fenoli, the host of the original series, has an $8 million net worth. By 2019, he had appeared on 295 episodes and 15 seasons.

Like other TLC stars, Fenoli likely earns between $25,000 and $40,000 per episode. But by working at Kleinfeld, he makes more. So far, this adds up to $12 million that he made from the show, excluding other dress sales.

The 7 Little Johnstons Might Earn Quite A Bit

The Johnstons go sightseeing in New York City.
Walter McBride/GC Images
Walter McBride/GC Images

7 Little Johnstons follows a family of seven who all have dwarfism. The father, Trent Johnston, works as a director of landscape management. But on top of that, he earns money from the show. Like other reality stars, he earns somewhere between $25,000 and $40,000 per episode.

According to Trend Celebs Now, Johnston’s net worth lies somewhere between $100,000 and $1 million. Because the family is relatively private, it is hard to tell how much they actually make.

Dr. Pimple Popper Makes More Than Most Dermatologists

Sandra Lee discusses Dr. Pimple Popper during an interview.
Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Dr. Pimple Popper follows dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee as she treats people with unusual skin conditions at her clinic, Skin Physicians & Surgeons. Since its debut in 2018, the show has become increasingly popular, and Lee has gradually made more money.

Although nobody knows how much Lee makes per episode, her net worth likely sits around $8 million. On average, dermatologists receive $219,626 annually, but Lee’s career as a reality star earns her much more.

Buddy Valastro Earned $80,000 For Every Cake Boss Episode

Television personality Buddy Valastro of TLC's
Amy Sussman/WireImage
Amy Sussman/WireImage

Since 2009, the show Cake Boss has followed Buddy Valastro as he makes edible art cakes at Carlo’s Bake Shop. This show is one of TLC’s most popular series. Because of this, Valastro earns a whopping $80,000 per episode, says Celebrity Dig.

Overall, Valastro’s $10 million net worth stems from more than TLC. After the show’s success, he opened several Carlo’s Bakery locations across the United States. With 236 episodes and counting, Valastro might become even richer.

Better-Paid 90 Day Fiance Stars, The Family Chantel

Chantel Everett and Pedro Jimeno pose for a promotional photo.
TLC/The Family Chantel
TLC/The Family Chantel

The Family Chantel explores the complexities of an intercultural relationship, mainly between the families of Chantel Everett and Pedro Jimeno. The two were originally on 90 Day Fiance before getting their own spinoff show. Because of this, fans believe that the couple makes more than the average 90 Day Fiance pair.

Although the show is still new, the couple has a reported $450,000 net worth, according to Distractify. Fans still do not know what Everett’s career is. As the show progresses, we might learn more.

These 90 Day Fiance Sisters Got Millions From Their Own Show

Darcey & Stacey pose for their TLC show.
TLC/Darcey & Stacey
TLC/Darcey & Stacey

Darcey & Stacey is another 90 Day Fiance spinoff show, this time focusing on the twin sisters Darcey and Stacey Silva. The series only had one season in 2020, but the sisters are one of 90 Day Fiance’s highest-paid stars.

Although nobody knows how much they made per episode, Darcey has a $2 million net worth, and Stacey’s is closer to $3 million. Along with the show, the two own the fashion brand House of 11 and sponsor products on Instagram.

TLC’s Amish Stars Do Not Make Much

Members of the Breaking Amish cast speak during a TLC panel.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In 2012, five Amish members moved to New York in the reality show, Breaking Amish. Two years later, the show branched off into a spinoff series, Return to Amish. Despite the many years of show time, some fans doubted whether the cast members got paid.

During an interview, cast member Sabrina said that she does get paid for the show, but that she works in-between seasons. MoneyWise estimates that the cast makes the same as 90 Day Fiance, around $1,000 per episode.

Stars On My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding Get No Money

A newlywed couple appears on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
TLC/My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
TLC/My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

From 2012 to 2016, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding tracked Romani couples and their weddings. But during an interview with Priscilla, one of the show’s guests, the people who appeared on the program did not get paid.

“For the record, they do not pay us anything to do the show,” Priscilla stated. In addition, the dresses and ceremonies were often played up for TV. Priscilla accused the show of showing “nothing but disrespect” for their community.

Guests Paid Taxes To Be On Trading Spaces

Two sets of neighbors prepare to remodel each others' rooms on Trading Spaces.
TLC/Trading Spaces
TLC/Trading Spaces

On Trading Spaces, neighbors redecorated one room in each other’s house with a budget of $1,000, or later $2,000. These budgets were covered by the show, theoretically making the home decor free. However, the guests had to pay taxes!

According to Best Week Ever, one homeowner had to pay $6,000 worth of taxes after the show. On the TLC message board, another homeowner claimed that they needed to pay $2,800 and was told this in advance.

They Received More For 19 Kids And Counting

Members of the Duggar family sit at the table to play games with a reporter.
FOX News Channel via Getty Images
FOX News Channel via Getty Images

When 19 Kids and Counting was popular, it earned the Duggars a lot of money. At its start, father Jim Bob negotiated a $25,000 speaking fee from each episode. But as the show progressed, the parents received $40,000 per episode.

19 Kids and Counting was so highly anticipated that its final season garnered 2.3 million views. It rapidly became TLC’s most popular series, and the Duggar parents had an estimated $3.5 million net worth. The show was canceled in 2015.

Adam Carolla Excelled After The Adam Carolla Project

Adam Carolla attends a panel discussion for
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The Adam Carolla Project was a reality show about Adam Carolla that aired in 2005. Carolla was already known as a radio personality, but the show followed him as he renovated his house. Later, he hosted The Man Show on Comedy Central.

It is unknown how much Carolla made on The Adam Carolla Project. But by 2020, he’s accumulated a net worth of $20 million. The TLC show might not have paid much, because most of his money stems from his podcast downloads.

People On My Strange Addiction Are Not Paid

A woman drinks nail polish on My Strange Addiction
TLC/My Strange Addiction
TLC/My Strange Addiction

In My Strange Addiction, hosts Mike Dow and J.J. Virgin aided Americans with unusual and unhealthy addictions. Although the hosts got paid, the guests who appeared on the episodes did not.

During an interview, guest star Trina Elliott admitted that “we don’t get paid to be on TV.” In addition, TLC never released how much the hosts got in compensation. Fans have accused some guests of faking addictions to receive national attention from their TV appearances.