There has been a lot of chatter recently about reality TV stars, their contracts, and their compensation for putting their personal lives into the spotlight for the world’s entertainment. In particular, Bethenny Frankel has been vocal about the need for a union for reality stars to ensure equal treatment and fair pay. She essentially wants the Housewives to unionize.
Now, NeNe Leakes is opening up about her compensation for the early days of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s legendary television. We all know it, but the amount of money the ladies made for creating those iconic TV moments is pretty surprising.
NeNe’s payday, Seasons 1-3
NeNe sat down with former RHOA producer Carlos King and dished on all things Housewives and beyond. They discussed the show’s trajectory over the years and how it quickly evolved into a pop culture phenomenon when it debuted on Bravo in 2008. However, it took a while for the paychecks to reflect the growing ratings.
NeNe told Carlos, “The first two or three seasons, we weren’t getting nothing, honey.”
She explained that for her first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she made $10,000 total. These days, Housewives are spending that much just on their glam. And for perspective, they filmed the first season of RHOA for three months. The $10,000 covered that entire timeframe.
“We filmed that show, we knocked it out of the park, and we didn’t get anything,” NeNe recalled of Season 1.
For Season 2, the paycheck increased to $50,000 for the season. For the third season, the cast banded together to negotiate a better contract. The Housewives retained the same attorney and asked Bravo for favored nations — meaning they’d all get equal pay.
“I think we got $100,000,” NeNe recalled of their Season 3 contract. “It was maybe, at the most, $150,000. We started to make a bag Season 4.”
NeNe believes the ladies should have made way more money sooner because of the franchise’s success. In the interview with Carlos, NeNe also explained how she shopped the RHOA pilot around to networks, along with Shereé Whitfield and Kim Zolciak. Therefore, she truly felt like the OG Housewives deserved a bigger piece of the pie.
Season 15 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta is currently airing on Bravo, Sunday nights at 8/7c.
TELL US – ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH NENE LEAKES MADE FROM THE EARLY SEASON OF THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA? DO YOU THINK THE RHOA CAST WAS PAID UNFAIRLY IN THE EARLY SEASONS?
The fans certainly do miss her.
These BFFS are doing just fine.
Tonight the Real Housewives Of Atlanta are back from Japan and absence did not make NeNe Leakes‘ heart grow fonder…