For anyone in any doubt that you can get huge sums of money from being in reality TV, a recent list published by English celebrity gossip magazine Now revealed just how much the richest UK reality stars are worth.
The latest iteration of their ‘Reality TV Rich List’ Top 50 countdown, Now’s list appears to be inconsistent with the criteria for entry, but seems to generally be for people (or groups, it would appear) who have made their name in the genre on-screen in the UK either as a contestant, talent judge, or ‘cast member’, regardless of their outside activities (which in many cases was entirely responsible for their positions on the ranking).
While an answer for many people would be The Apprentice boss Lord Alan Sugar, making his name as a billionaire technology entrepreneur long before the 2005 BBC business show puts him out of contention, so it is unsurprisingly Simon Cowell, creator, producer, and judge on a number of TV talent shows over the years (including Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, and the ill-fated gameshow Red or Black?) that leads the rankings, with Now’s estimates valuing him at £225m ($355m).
Cowell’s influence on the list does not stop at his name, though, with over half of the top 50 (all of whom are valued at over £1m) having made their claim to fame on one of his reality shows, as an estimated 25 were marked as having been a contestant on a singing contest (including shows that Cowell was not a part of such as Pop Stars: The Rivals), while other entries include 5 that became famous enough for the list via Britain’s Got Talent, 2 through business show The Apprentice, 1 from entrepreneurial series Dragon’s Den, and an astonishing 7 people who appear on mind-numbing ‘scripted reality’ shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Made In Chelsea (with people from the latter thought to mainly be on the list due to their privileged backgrounds).
The details of some of those high placers reveal that the ‘best of the rest’ title below Cowell is one that could be claimed by either of his biggest names: opera singer Susan Boyle (worth £22m, ten times less than Cowell) or boyband One Direction (believed to be valued at £20m each, or £100m as a whole), while the highest-ranked celebrity that has no relation to Simon Cowell’s shows was 4th-placed reality TV personality/model/businesswoman Katie Price, said to be valued at £17.5m, even if a majority of people reading this will wonder why anyone would even pay a penny for most of the people in the ranking.
Now summarised their Top 50 breakdown with a prediction for the year ahead, noting that controversial X Factor contestant and Celebrity Big Brother winner Rylan Clark is on-track to break the £1m by the year’s end, and likely to feature in their 2014 list. For a look at the most ‘valuable’ reality TV assets for now, though, the Top 20 of Now’s list, along with what each person/group is most famous for in reality TV circles, is below:
1. Simon Cowell (Pop Idol, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent - creator & judge) - £225m
2. Susan Boyle (Britain’s Got Talent – winning contestant) - £22m
3. ‘One Direction’ (X Factor – contestant) - ‘£20m each’ (£100m)
4. Katie Price/’Jordan’ (I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Katie – reality TV personality) - £17.5m
5. Cheryl Cole (Popstars: The Rivals, X Factor – contestant/judge) - £15m
6. Will Young (Pop Idol – winning contestant) - £13.5m
7. Leona Lewis (X Factor – winning contestant) - £12m
8. Levi Roots (Dragon’s Den – entrepreneur (creator of ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’)) - £12m
9. Myleene Klass (Popstars, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! - winning contestant/reality TV personality) - £11m
10. Francis Boulle (Made in Chelsea – reality TV personality) - £10.1m
11. Kimberly Walsh (Popstars: The Rivals - winning contestant) - £6.8m
12. Gareth Gates (Pop Idol - contestant) - £6.5m
13. Nicola Roberts (Popstars: The Rivals - winning contestant) – £6.5m
14. Peter Andre (I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Peter Andre: My Life - reality TV personality) - £6.3m
15. Sarah Harding (Popstars: The Rivals – winning contestant) – £6.3m
16. Alexandra Burke (X Factor – winning contestant) - £6.1m
17. Paul Potts (Britain’s Got Talent - winning contestant) - £6m
18. Nadine Coyle (Popstars: The Rivals - winning contestant) – £6m
19. ‘JLS’ (X Factor - contestant) - £6m
20. Paul Torrisi (The Apprentice – contestant/entrepreneur) - £5.5m