Reality TV might make media critics scoff and television writers hang their heads in dismay, but it sure pays the bills.
One of the most popular reality series is Bravo TV's The Real Housewives. The first series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, premiered in March 2006 and followed the lives of the wealthy, beautiful women living in the California suburbs. There are now six different seasons of the series airing on the channel throughout the year, featuring women from New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Miami and Vancouver.
RadarOnline.com investigated how much it pays to be one of The Real Housewives and the answer will shock you.
Nene Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the top-earner of the Bravo series, according to RadarOnline.com. The vivacious and outspoken Leakes earns a whopping $750,000 per season. She could earn up to $1 million when the network orders more episodes for a new season.
Vicki Gunvalson brings in the most bucks on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Gunvalson is the only remaining cast member from Season 1 of the show and she takes home $450,000 a season. Behind her is Tamra Barney, who earns $350,000, and Gretchen Rossi, who earns $300,000.
Lisa Vanderpump earns the most for her role on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The restaurateur makes $250,000 per season. Adrienne Maloof and Kyle Richards earn the following pay tier, $200,000 per season.
Find out how much other Real Housewives make, courtesy of RadarOnline.com.
Despite these fat paychecks, the ladies of the Bravo reality series are not without their financial woes.
In 2009, Barney and her ex-husband sold their Ladera Ranch, Ocean County, home as a short sale. The price of the Tuscan-style 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home dropped 30 percent to $1.1 million before it sold, according to Zillow.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Adrienne Maloof, whose family owns the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, has reportedly scaled back on her lavish lifestyle.
She is cutting back on every aspect of her luxurious lifestyle, a source told RadarOnline.com. Adrienne and Paul lead an extravagant life, but they're having money troubles and are looking for ways to scale back their opulence.
Melissa and Joe are in way over their heads. Joe owes a lot of people money. They have the house on the market because they can't pay the mortgage now that the interest rate on it has exploded, a source close to the couple revealed to the gossip website.
They are portraying a life that they really didn't live prior to the show. Melissa likes to drop name brands now and has become very arrogant. Joe loves the fact that Joe Giudice has financial issues, yet he's in the same boat!
In 2010, Jezebel first reported that all of the ladies of The Real Housewives of New Jersey were going broke.
A few more high-paying seasons of The Real Housewives and all these ladies could surely be in the black.