How Much Dough Do Survivor Non-Winners get?

AJ Wilson
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It’s well known that the winner of Survivor gets one million dollars along with the title of Sole Survivor. However, you may not know that every player that steps foot on the island earns a cash prize!


And, no, we aren’t talking about things like America’s Tribal Council from Survivor: All: Stars, the Player of the Season award, or the so-called “Sia Award”. Besides, very few players receive those awards each season. No, we mean that EVERY PLAYER gets paid by CBS for simply appearing on the show!

Kaoh Rong contestant Tai Trang becomes the first recipient of the “Sia Award”

One Million Dollars?

First, let’s start with the easy one. As mentioned above, the winner of Survivor receives a cash prize of one million dollars. However, that is a bit of a misnomer.

The player is awarded one million dollars, but after taxes are taken out, they make just under $600,000, according to AOL. This was infamously referenced by Survivor: Philippines contestant Jeff Kent, who said in his exit interview, “It’s not even a million bucks! It’s six hundred grand by the time Obama takes it.”


Finalists and Juror Cash Prizes

According to former Juror Jonny Fairplay, each Jury Member receives $40k. And the runner-up of each season of Survivor wins $100,000, similar to how Big Brother awards ten percent of the cash prize to second place.

However, we know this because both Lex Van Den Berghe and Tom Buchanan of Survivor: Africa were awarded the runner-up prize due to a production botch in the Final Four Immunity Challenge, as then-reported by the New York Post.

First Boot Winnings?

Every player’s worst nightmare is to be the first boot. But, on the plus side, at least you get $3,500 for it! All pre-Jury players are awarded cash prizes on a sliding scale, with the amount increasing each elimination.


However, according to Men’s Health, any returning players get paid a much higher amount then their newer counterparts if they are the first eliminated. Reportedly, if a returning player is a first boot, they receive $25,000. That’s over SEVEN times the amount a new player would get!

Island of the Idols player Ronnie Bardah was the first boot of the season. At least he netted $3,500!

While everyone earns cash on Survivor, everyone ultimately is shooting for the $1 Million grand prize! So, who will take home the cash on Island of the Idols? Tune into CBS on Wednesdays at 8/7 Central to find out!

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