Reality shows have become our guilty pleasures, providing intimate looks into the lives of celebrities as well as entertainment via competitions on everything from athletics to singing ability, fashion designing, and surviving in the wild. Most reality shows have a host who talks with competitors, sets the stage, and serves as the face of the series. And these hosts can earn big bank for their talents. So who are the richest reality show hosts? We’ve listed the 10 richest ones below.
Before delving into the list, some honorable mentions: Terry Crews, current host of America’s Got Talent, and Mario Lopez, once host of America’s Best Dance Crew and The X Factor, both have a net worth of $20 million; while Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), Julie Chen (Big Brother), Tom Bergeron (Dancing With the Stars), and Chris Harrison (The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise) are all worth a cool $16 million.
10 Padma Lakshmi - $40 million
Lakshmi rose to fame as the host of cooking competition series Top Chef, which she hosted from season two right through to season 10. She has been nominated for an Emmy for the role and has fashioned her talents into other projects as well.
She has published three cookbooks, started acting in films, and even has her own kitchenware line. While she’s best known for hosting Top Chef, she hosted other cooking shows prior to that as well, and has also worked as a model.
9 Carson Daly - $40 million
Formerly an MTV VJ and radio DJ, Daly went on to host and produce his own long-running talk show, and has hosted a number of events, including the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show and a New Year’s Eve special in Times Square.
Today, he’s known by the newest generation as the host of reality singing competition series The Voice since its inception in 2011. He also earns coin as the orange room anchor/social media reporter for the Today Show and fills in for Willie Geist on Weekend Today. Additionally, he has his own independent record label.
8 Jeff Probst - $40 million
As the face of long-running reality competition series Survivor, Probst is now also an executive producer of the series. He had his own short-lived daytime talk show and has hosted game shows and other events, too.
But Survivor is his most lucrative gig, a role that earned him the honor of being the first to win a Primetime Emmy in the new Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program; he went on to win the award three more times. His hosting skills are often lauded, including his detailed play-by-plays of competitions, and his ability to act as a counselor to players, not just host.
7 Nick Cannon - $50 million
Hosting reality talent competition show America’s Got Talent for most of its run, Cannon now works as host of The Masked Singer, a reality competition series where celebrity guests hide their identity through elaborate costumes and put on musical performances while the judges and viewers try to guess who they are.
Also an actor, rapper, director, producer, and radio personality, Cannon has a lengthy resume with gigs that have all contributed to his high earnings. Prior to AGT, he was known for another hosting gig with MTV improv comedy series Wild ‘N Out.
6 Jerry Springer - $60 million
You know Springer best as host of the tabloid talk show The Jerry Springer Show, which aired from 1991 through to 2018. So it’s easy to forget that he actually hosted America’s Got Talent for two seasons, replacing Regis Philbin and before Cannon took over the job.
He has also had plenty of other hosting gigs, including radio talk shows, the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants, WWE Raw, and The Price Is Right Live! He currently hosts a courtroom show called Judge Jerry.
5 RuPaul - $60 million
RuPaul has received the Primetime Emmy Award for the last four years consecutively for his role as host and producer of the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Considered to be one of the most commercially successful drag queens in the U.S. and called one of the most influential people in the world by Time 100, the multi-talented RuPaul is also an actor, model, and singer/songwriter. He launched a three-week test run of his own daytime talk show, RuPaul, in June 2019 and appeared in a Taylor Swift music video.
4 Tyra Banks - $90 million
While she had a short-lived gig as host of America’s Got Talent following Cannon’s departure, now replaced by Terry Crews, Banks was best known for her work as a model and for hosting the long-running reality series America’s Next Top Model, for which she also served as an executive producer.
She also had her own Emmy-winning talk show and published a young adult novel. Considered to be one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine, she is also one of only 17 models to be called “legendary” by Models.com.
3 Heidi Klum - $120 million
Another model, Klum was a long-time judge on reality competition series America’s Got Talent. But prior to that, she was known best as host and judge of Germany’s Next Topmodel and the reality show Project Runway, for which she earned an Emmy win and several nominations.
In addition to her work on television, including hosting, acting, and producing, Klum is also a fashion designer, singer, and author. She has her own fragrances, jewelry, and fashion line, had a reality series with her then-husband Seal back in 2010, and is also an artist who paints.
2 Gordon Ramsay - $220 million
Alongside his widely successful worldwide restaurant empire, Ramsay is also an accomplished reality series host with several of his own cooking-related shows on the air, including Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior, and 24 Hours to Hell and Back. Previous reality series included Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Hell.
In 2018, he was named by Forbes as the 33rd highest-earning celebrity in the world. All of his properties are owned by Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited, and the empire continues to grow, so we expect his earnings to continue to skyrocket.
1 Ryan Seacrest – $430 million
As the wealthiest reality series host, Seacrest gains his status in this category from hosting the long-time singing competition series American Idol since its inception, which was cancelled then resurrected, and continues to air to this day. Also a producer through his own company, Ryan Seacrest Productions, he is responsible for some of the most successful reality series on television beyond the competition realm, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its spin-offs, and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
One of the hardest-working hosts in Hollywood, Seacrest also has his own radio show, hosts daytime talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.