It’s ironic that Alana Thompson (better known as Honey Boo Boo Child) became known for the line “A dolla makes me holla,” because as it turns out, TLC may not be paying her much more than that. At least, not by reality TV standards: The Hollywood Reporter quoted a source claiming that TLC is paying the entire Thompson clan only $2,000-$4,000 an episode. That’s $40,000 at most for this family of six!
Now, $40,000 for ten episodes may seem like more than any normal person could dream of being paid to have a camera crew invade their house and film their lives for just a few weeks, but compared to what other reality stars make, this is highway robbery. Over the past five years, the Jersey Shore cast have negotiated their salaries from a “paltry” $10k per episode to at least $100k. MTV reportedly pays its Teen Mom girls anywhere from $75k to $140k depending how fucked-up they are. And these are all per person, per episode.
Now, these trainwrecks have all proven themselves to be worth every penny in the ratings they bring in. If TLC commented on the salaries — which a network rep said they don’t — they could potentially make the argument that they didn’t know when they drew up the contracts that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo would be such a breakaway hit. But with the first season ending soon and the network filming new episodes lickety-split, they cannot get away with cheating the Thompsons out of a fair reality TV wage.
But here comes “Mama” June Shannon to alleviate our fears! After the THR post came out, TMZ gave her a call. You’ll be happy to hear that June laughed off the reports and assured the site that her family is making a lot more than that. Though she wouldn’t specify the amount, she did say, “We’re making memories to last a lifetime.” That’s a bit vague and plays into my fear that June and Sugar Bear wouldn’t negotiate enough for their family because they’re just happy to be poking fun at their redneck style on TV. However, it sounds as if I’ve underestimated the Thompsons’ business savvy: They seem to understand the odd mix of entertainment value and warm’n'fuzzy feelings that their antics bring us viewers, and are capitalizing on it properly.
Because seriously—when I watch Snooki or Jenelle Evans I just want to scream at the TV, whereas I see this .gif of Mama and can’t stop smiling.