book excerpt

How Much Do the Real Housewives Get Paid?

And more burning money questions from Brian Moylan’s new book.

Photo: Bravo
Photo: Bravo
Photo: Bravo

Sign up now for The Housewives Institute Bulletin, a new newsletter by Brian Moylan that breaks down all the Housewives drama and gossip, on- and off-screen, for dedicated students of the Reality Television Arts and Sciences.

I hate the question-and-answer period. After a perfectly good event, here comes some yahoo on the microphone to talk about how he once went on a spiritual sojourn through Prague that reminded him so much of whatever it is that the audience just listened to. I curl my toes in disgust when I hear the phrase, “This is more of a comment than a question.” No. I’m sorry. Sit your ass down.

That said — at BravoCon in 2019, one of the day’s most electrifying exchanges happened when a woman named Erica got up to the mic at the Producer’s Tea panel, where five veteran Real Housewives producers from across the franchise talked about life behind the scenes.

“So, who pays for the trips?” she asked. “It’s always someone’s trip. Someone gets to decide who picks the rooms, how rooms are decided, they decide the itinerary, supposedly. Can you tell us the details?”

Glenda Cox, who works on Real Housewives of Atlanta, was the first to respond. “I have a question for you: Who do you think pays for the trips?”

“Bravo!” Erica exclaimed as fans shifted expectantly in their seats.

“Some of these are really freaking glamorous, so I don’t know that all of these ladies are dishing out this kind of money for this kind of plan.”

Kemar Bassaragh, who has worked on RHOA and Real Housewives of Potomac, said, “I don’t know. It’s whatever you think it is.”

“You can’t say that!” an incensed Erica said. “I’m asking you.”

“Why can’t they pay for their trips?” Cox asked. “Look at them, they are friends.”

“So the housewife whose trip it is pays for the whole thing?” Erica, the Woodward and Bernstein of Housewivery, asked. “That’s the deal?”

“They can chip in. When I go with my girlfriends, I chip in,” Cox replied.

“I chip in. I pay for my own trips,” Bassaragh said as well.

And the crowd started to boo.

That’s the thing about the Real Housewives. They’re supposed to have these glamorous, unattainable lifestyles, and we often see how much money they’re spending on shopping trips or we read about how much their houses cost. But Bravo is never transparent about their salaries, who pays for their parties, and what kind of freebies they get for being on the show. The fans know the truth — that there are all sorts of deals going on behind the scenes. Why can’t the network just acknowledge it?

To get the crowd to calm down, Darren Ward, a veteran of Real Housewives of New York City’s best seasons, said, “The trips are always rooted in something that’s really going on in the show. It is based on something that the ladies really want to do. It’s places that they really want to go to. It’s places they’ve been to before.”

While Ward was speaking, we could see a woman on the side of the stage with an earpiece and a clipboard, the universal accoutrements of a “PR maven,” getting into a tizzy. She then walked out and whispered something in Cox’s ear. When she left the stage, Cox looked at the woman still standing at the microphone in the middle of the aisle.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Erica,” she said, suddenly almost sheepish.

“A little birdie just told me to tell you … Bravo pays for the trips,” she said with a broad smile.

The room erupted in applause. This is what the fans want: to be told that we’re not stupid. We want the acknowledgment that what goes on behind the scenes is really what we think it is. Sure, it’s best for the trip to have an organic basis, like when Bethenny took the women to Mexico for a tequila-tasting trip for her Skinnygirl Margarita brand. However, it’s not like she got them access to an exclusive factory that wouldn’t have had them otherwise. They totally went somewhere that is used to hosting tourist groups.

There have also been plenty of bogus trips, like when Meghan King Edmonds dragged everyone to Ireland to “find her ancestry” and was left wandering around a small Irish town asking if anyone was her 19th cousin three times removed. However fake the idea, though, trips are always worth the hassle for the fans. It was that trip to Mexico where Luann fell into a bush, all the women got into the pool naked, and Ramona had to wrap her face to protect a recent chemical peel. Iconic moments happen when the women are out of their natural habitats, whether it’s Vicki being wheeled to the hospital in Iceland, Shereé and Marlo getting in a fight in South Africa, or Brandi slapping Lisa Vanderpump in Amsterdam — oh! or Lisa Rinna threatening to choke Kim Richards on the same trip. I don’t want to scroll through my friends’ trip pics on Instagram, but I will never stop reliving these.

Trips keep the women together and out of their comfort zones — a recipe for tensions boiling over and drama ratcheting up to the next level. There’s nowhere to hide; if you get in a fight with someone at dinner, you have to confront them about it the next day at breakfast. It’s also a treat for fans at home, watching our girls swan around ridiculously ornate hotel rooms in Dubai with sharks swimming past the beds, for instance. But all of that costs money, and someone has to pay.

Finally, we know it’s Bravo. Like Andy said, though, it’s also a combination. Not a combination of the women paying and Bravo paying, but a combination of Bravo paying and also getting things for free by making more brand deals than an influencer (or affluencer?) with past-due car payments.

Every trip starts with the showrunner coming up with a budget. This has to be done for every trip, not just the glamorous international vacations but also the little jaunts out of town, the invitations to a Housewife’s second home, or even a day trip to an apple orchard in upstate New York for Sonja to pee in a corn maze. Along with the budget, the producers have to state the reason they’re going on the trip, what stories they hope to pursue while they’re there, and which of the women is the purported host.

As many fans have deduced, the host of many trips is fairly nominal — unless, of course, they’re staying at Ramona’s Hamptons home, in which case, she is in charge of who sleeps in the “lower level.”

Kristen Taekman was the host of the RHONY season-six trip to Montana. “I mean, I didn’t do much. I did fun welcome bags. They obviously organized it all,” she said of her duties. “I helped facilitate, like these are the options of things to do. They pretty much do it all, but somebody’s got to host it.”

The locations are often chosen by where producers can get the best deal or where they can find a hotel that is going to house the women for free. (Or, as was the case one year when a RHONY trip to Buenos Aires had to be scrapped at the last minute, where their cast can travel given their parole restrictions.) Those swaps of exposure on the show for rooms or other services are called trade outs.

“There’s a lot of times where Bravo will say, ‘You can’t go on this trip unless you can get a trade out,’” says one producer who has booked several trips, noting that in recent years, the budgets for trips have gone down, but can still be in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Many hotels will only agree to these deals when the property isn’t at peak occupancy, so you’ll see the women going to visit either in the off-season or midweek. Production companies will also pay for the amenities the Housewives use — room service and the like — and any excursions the hotels book for them, like camel-riding through the desert or a trip to a private-island beach club. These are often also part of the contract. If the hotel has a spa, they can stipulate that the women visit it, or if they offer in-room tequila tastings, they can risk sending a poor tequila sommelier to a roomful of drunk, horny, middle-aged women who will probably treat him in a manner that would get a Me Too activist’s hackles up. To keep any of these awful details from getting out to the press, everyone involved has to sign a nondisclosure agreement. I’m sure it’s especially strong for whichever member of the household staff Ramona decides to boss around on that trip. (JK, Ramona. Love you!)

Some places require that the women sign a code of conduct. Someone who has worked on a number of these deals says that the code usually stipulates that while wine can be thrown, punches certainly can’t be.

No word on how venues feel if Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga end up in a food fight with a $1,000 cake, but we know that Siggy Flicker hates it. Of course, the hotels know there will be drama, but they want to keep it away from the other guests. Production also usually agrees to a filming curfew — say, midnight — which fans can thank for every time they’ve been irate that the cameras didn’t get the heated, late-night discussions the women always have after boozy dinners.

One thing Bravo will not pay for, which has become more and more common thanks to Erika Jayne, is the women bringing staff members of “glam squads” along with them. Those arrangements are made on the women’s own dime.

The other thing that can become an issue is flights. While some of the bigger stars — and even some higher-up producers with good agents — have it in their contracts that they fly business or first, Bravo will only pay for the women to fly in the back of the plane. If they want to upgrade classes, they have to pay themselves. This became a plot point on Real Housewives of Dallas’s season-three trip to Copenhagen, where most of the women paid the $1,200 to upgrade themselves to first class, but D’Andra Simmons and LeeAnne Locken were with the rest of the rabble back in Middle-Seat Land.

Not every trip plays out like this. When the women are staying in a villa or (gasp) Airbnb, the production staff has to be put in a hotel nearby, which doesn’t get the exposure of being on the show so probably doesn’t give them a discount. The same arrangement applies when the women go to one of their second homes. Dorinda can’t have 30 crew members sleeping in cots in the garage of Blue Stone Manor, so they need to retreat to a nearby hotel. In this example, Dorinda doesn’t get any money for hosting production, but she will get some special considerations, like production paying for cleaning before and after the women terrorize her Berkshires manse. The over-the-top Halloween decorations, though, that comes right out of her own pocket.

Whether the venue was found by a travel agent or a producer, it’s nothing but good news for the places where the women travel, even the ones where Luann literally shits the bed. One person who has worked on multiple Housewives trips told me that the publicity is fantastic, though it’s impossible to track whether or not a Housewives episode led to more rooms being booked. It’s not just the episode; it’s also the blogs, recaps, and fan accounts that end up writing about the episodes and the women’s trips, giving them even more free press.

Janet Scanlon, the senior marketing manager at the Willard Hotel in D.C., arranged for Kyle Richards to stay there while the family dropped daughter Sophia off at nearby George Washington University (my alma mater). Even though the hotel wasn’t prominently featured in the episode and Kyle’s family mostly filmed in their rooms, Scanlon says the hotel’s website saw a major spike in traffic after Kyle posted about her stay on Instagram.

Some Housewives have even returned to favorite destinations and paid their own way, which just gets the businesses more exposure. In an attention economy, even the cringiest tabloid story works if it will get people eyeing your luxury-vacation spot.

Hotels aren’t the only businesses that can benefit. What about all the restaurants where the women are constantly meeting to air their grievances? Ideally, these are a reflection of places the women go in their real lives. However, what production really needs is places that will allow them to film. Filming at a restaurant isn’t just showing up with the women and a couple of cameras; it involves setting up the lighting and location of the table sometimes hours in advance, sometimes setting up a monitor so that producers can watch the scene as it’s being taped, and then breaking it all down after someone has stormed out after being confronted by the Cookie Lady who says she got hit on by one of the ladies’ boyfriends.

Samantha Wan, the vice-president of public relations for Barton G. restaurants, said that she initially reached out to location scouts working for Evolution Media about filming one of their shows in the chain’s Los Angeles location. The restaurant’s signature cinematic platings — popcorn shrimp brought out in a popcorn machine, a swordfish with a giant samurai sword protruding from it — were perfect for television. The production used the restaurant for a season-12 party for Tamra Judge’s husband Eddie’s birthday party.

Because the restaurant is smaller and only open for dinner, it opened early for production and held a private party for the Judges. That, however, is usually a no-no.

According to several producers, Bravo hates it when the restaurants appear empty or to be catering only to the Housewives. They want them to look full and popular, like the ladies walked in off the street and waited for a table like everyone else.

Barton G. has since been featured on RHOA and RHONY, both at the Miami location. Wan says that they give the women the menu in advance so they don’t waste time during filming — which became evident when Bethenny ordering the lobster Pop-Tarts (which come in a pink retro toaster) for the entire group became a topic of conversation. The highlight of RHONY’s visit, of course, was the iconic fight when Bethenny finally yells at Luann, “Life is not a cabaret!”

“It wasn’t negative on our brand,” Wan says of the drama. “That being such a memorable moment is always mentioned in our restaurant, so I think it’s still decent overall to be tied with it.” She also confessed that, yes, fans do show up at the Miami location because of the show and she’s heard of people reenacting the encounter in the restaurant.

One of the most noticeable things from that scene isn’t just Bethenny screaming — and Tinsley snidely saying, “Yes, I’m drinking, Luann” — it’s the reactions of the other patrons to their dinner being disturbed by reality-TV insanity. Wan says that the restaurant put a sign on the front door alerting guests that filming was going on, and those who ended up on-camera were asked to sign a release.

That’s not always the case, as my friend Suzanne — who ended up in the background of a RHONY episode sneering at Bethenny when she got loud in a Hamptons eatery — will attest. She never signed anything, but thankfully her epic side-eye lived to make it into the episode.

Benny Ramos, the general manager of Añejo in Manhattan’s Tribeca, had a different solution when RHONY filmed there in season 11. He not only put a poster on the door about filming, but anyone who didn’t want to end up in the background could be seated in the restaurant’s basement (ahem, “lower level”). “You never know if someone’s bringing their wife or someone else,” he joked. “Nobody wants to find out that way, so we offered our other dining area.”

It’s hard to put a dollar amount to the Housewives’ impact on a brand, but Felicia Garay-Stanton, the PR and marketing director for Jovani, tried to. Both Luann and Dorinda made the brand iconic when Dorinda got them to lend Luann a few dresses for her cabaret debut. That might have been a little footnote in Housewives history, but when Dorinda got mad at Luann for not inviting her boyfriend John to the big premiere, she heckled Luann by shouting, “Jovani! Jovani!” repeatedly at the show.

Garay-Stanton says that, after the cabaret episode aired, the brand’s web traffic shot through the roof. She said it would have cost them $2 million to $2.5 million in advertising to see an increase in traffic like that, and they didn’t have to spend a dime for it. That famous incident led to Luann recording her track, “Feeling Jovani.” She didn’t ask permission to record the song, but apparently, it was a hit and played on repeat for a few weeks at Jovani HQ in Manhattan. They even let her film the music video at the brand’s L.A. flagship store, which has become a go-to stop for Housewives fans visiting the West Coast.

“It has definitely amped up the name Jovani and helped us go beyond prom,” Garay-Stanton says. “A lot of people just think of us as a prom brand. We sell dresses for your bat mitzvah to your granddaughter’s wedding.” (You’re welcome for this PR, too, Jovani.)

There were drawbacks. She said some stylists the brand worked with stopped recommending their dresses to certain celebrity clients because it became a “Real Housewives brand.”

“I think the ship has sailed a little bit on that,” she says. “I know we’d love to make sure the brand is still elevating. We don’t want to get stuck in that one-song, one-note-type thing. Sometimes I think with the reality-TV shows, you can end up stuck, and you want to make sure you’re still dynamic in a lot of ways … I hope that we won’t be considered a joke later on.”

Garay-Stanton also says that, after loaning Dorinda and Luann dresses (they both also pay retail at Jovani), she’s heard from other Housewives looking for free things. Several ladies she refused to name had deals with local stores that carry Jovani, so they thought that meant they should be able to come by the showroom and pick out a free gown or two. Garay-Stanton turned them down or told them to talk to the store.

That makes us wonder, just how much free stuff are these women getting? It’s hard to tell exactly, but we know they’re out there wheeling and dealing to get every freebie they can. Just like production can’t promise brands any amount of airtime, neither can the women, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Bobby Berk, the design guru on Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye, shared a horror story about working with a Housewife when he was on Jenny McCarthy’s SiriusXM radio show.

“I had a New York Housewife come into my store years ago in New York, and [she] was like, ‘Oh, I’m buying this new place … I want you to come in and design it all. I’m gonna put you on the show,’” he says about the incident. “I wasn’t on TV yet. I still kind of liked The Housewives, so I was like, ‘Oh, okay, but just so you know, I’m not doing it for free. I don’t need to do it for free. I don’t necessarily know if The Housewives is really the exposure I want anyways, so I’ll do it for you at cost.’ And she’s like, ‘Okay, okay, that works.’”

Berk says then he got a call from her husband trying to bully him into doing it for free. He decided that he didn’t want to do it at all and canceled the verbal agreement. “She came into my store the next week when I wasn’t there and told my staff that I had said she could take anything out of the store that she wanted to design her house for the shoot, and here was her credit card, and ‘If I don’t bring anything back, if I like something, you can just charge the credit card.’”

Months later, he was looking for some inventory and was informed that it was at her house. His staff had been calling and calling to get it back, and she wouldn’t return their calls. When they tried the credit card, it was declined. Berk says that when he called the Housewife and demanded she return the items, she said to him, “You know what? Then let’s go to court. This’ll be good TV. It’s easier for us just to have our lawyer deal with it than it would be to actually pay you.” He never did get his goods back.

While Berk didn’t reveal the person’s name on the show, he later acknowledged that it was none other than our favorite unijambiste Aviva Drescher.

Trading airtime for favors became a part of the story line in RHONY’s 12th season, when Dorinda Medley and Sonja Morgan got mad at Ramona for dragging them all the way to Long Island to meet with a party planner so that she could get a discount on a fancy birthday party with 60 of her closest girlfriends. A source close to production told me that, yes, Ramona did get a discount for flogging this man’s services on air.

But wait, you might be thinking, doesn’t Bravo pay for all those lavish parties? Again, it’s a combination, and it usually comes down to motive. If the Housewife is going to throw the party anyway, like Taylor Armstrong’s famous $60,000 birthday parties for her young daughter, then all the planning and cost is left to the Housewives. This certainly goes for business launches.

However, if there wasn’t going to be a party, and production instead concocts an “all-cast event,” then they kick in a lot of the budget. So, for instance, if they see that a Housewife’s 50th birthday is around the time production wraps but no one’s planning anything, production might say, “Can you put together a birthday party? We’ll pay for it.” Within reason, of course.

The women try to get the most out of production, however. “They’re all so cheap,” says one producer who has worked on multiple shows. “I mean, they will turn in a receipt for five dollars. It doesn’t matter. They’re all so cheap, they want to get the most out of what they put in.”

Aren’t these women rich, though? Why do they always have one manicured hand out? Think about how you — yes, you — load up on free samples at Costco and then ask that question again. That’s about right.

Also, only some of the women are really rich. Several of the ladies from New York, Beverly Hills, and Dallas have a fair amount of money, but the secret about some of the other franchises is that most of that money comes from the show itself. Tamra might have been swapping mansions in her last few seasons, but remember the townhouse she and her ex-husband Simon started in. All that cash didn’t come from Cut Fitness; it came from Real Housewives and the attendant businesses.

The salaries of Real Housewives are much debated across the internet, with Radar Online saying that NeNe made $2.85 million for season 12. I was told by several people familiar with the franchise that Kandi Burruss is the highest-paid Housewife across all franchises and makes slightly over $2 million a season. (And that was even before NeNe “decided to leave” RHOA again.) The same Radar Online article that pegged NeNe’s salary at $2.85 million also said Kandi made $2.2 million, so maybe they know what they’re talking about.

These figures might be a bit misleading, because the contracts went from promising the Housewives one paycheck for each season to paying them per episode, like they’re members of the Friends cast. While apparently Bravo suits were transitioning the salaries to an episodic basis for a while, Lisa Vanderpump quitting in the middle of filming RHOBH’s ninth season is what made them institute it across the board. Now Housewives only get paid for the episodes they appear in.

Most of the main cast, of course, will be in every episode. In previous years, some women who were holding out on their contracts before filming started would later have their “personal stories” cut into the early episodes so that they would get a full-season order. NeNe Leakes reportedly did not get that courtesy for season 12, and her absence for several episodes cost her around $120,000 an episode.

Things are different for each franchise and for each woman, obviously. The way it generally works now is that a woman taken from obscurity and cast on the show will make about $60,000 her first season. Obviously, someone like Denise Richards, who was a star Bravo wanted to cast and probably had an agent to do her negotiating, could get a lot more. Multiple gossip blogs report she pulled in $1 million for her first season and was guaranteed four years, but we all saw how that worked out, and she left after two.

That $60,000 figure was confirmed by RHOC’s Gina Kirschenheiter’s divorce filings after her first season of the show, where she claimed $63,000 paid by the production company and $5,450 paid by NBCUniversal.

If a woman stays on the show for a second season, she’ll usually double her salary to $120,000. If she’s invited back yet again, her salary will be around $300,000 for the third season and then hover between that figure and $500,000 for the length of her stay on the show.

The Atlanta ladies make a bit more, since they have the highest ratings, and RHOD makes less because they film fewer episodes than the other franchises and are the least-watched.

Cary Deuber told me she made barely any money her first season on RHOD. “It was less than nothing. Less than a handbag. Less than a Birkin,” she says, and I will note she was joking about the Birkin. She said by season three, she was making around $200,000 a season.

She was invited back for season four as a “friend of the Housewives,” which has a totally different pay structure. These women get paid per day of filming, which could be a two-hour lunch or an eight-hour outing.

They still get the same rate, and it’s not much, relatively speaking. “Oh, it’s definitely less than a Birkin,” Cary says.

The figures haven’t always been as generous. Bethenny Frankel has been on record saying that she made $7,250 for her first season of RHONY. When you figure in how much they were filming, that can’t possibly be minimum wage. If you’ll recall, when I asked RHOC’s season-two addition Tammy Knickerbocker how much she made in her first season, she was too embarrassed to admit the figure.

Cindy Barshop says she made about $50,000 when she filmed season four of RHONY. Ana Quincoces says she made $40,000 when she started on season two of RHOM and that the cast had “favored nations” clauses in her contract. (Ana is a lawyer, so she knows this shit.) That means they all got paid the same rate, and their salary only increased 5 percent season by season. That means she made $42,000 for season three.

Naturally, the franchise has stars that need to be looked after. Bethenny Frankel, according to someone with knowledge of her salary, was pulling in around $1 million when she left the show. Tamra told Jeff Lewis on his SiriusXM show after she was fired from RHOC that she made $1.2 million her final season. Radar Online pegs Teresa Giudice at about the $1 million mark and Lisa Vanderpump in the same range for her last season.

Kyle Richards was also making that much money, it seems. I was told Kyle and her sister Kim’s contracts stipulated equal salary when they were both full-time cast members, and other clauses stipulated the same parity for Kyle and Lisa Vanderpump.

Just as the stars make more money, there are some “friends of the Housewives” who do all right, like RHOA’s forever bridesmaids Tanya Sam and Marlo Hampton. Radar points to them making $150,000 and $300,000, respectively, for RHOA’s 12th season. I know Bravo is against it, but #GiveMarloAPeach.

Let’s be honest, most of the Housewives, especially the newbies, are going to take whatever Bravo offers them. They want the fame, they want the platform, they want the possibility of cashing in like Bethenny did. In her memoir, Pretty Mess (which I co-authored), Erika Jayne says that her ex-husband, attorney Tom Girardi, told her to sign her first contract without even reading it. “You need them more than they need you,” he counseled her. Now she has an agent who probably does the bargaining, and the contract reading, for her.

Some of the Housewives now have agents, but most still represent themselves. Andy tells a funny story in his memoir about one season when Ramona decided she was going to negotiate her contract herself but walked out of the meeting halfway through when she got bored.

An agent who works with several reality clients told me that Housewives’ contracts are pretty standard in the industry, but there are a few vagaries. There is what is called the Bethenny clause, which stipulates that any Housewife who starts a business venture while on the show and that is featured on the show has to give Bravo a 10 percent cut if they sell the business for more than $1 million. I’m sure someone at NBCUniversal headquarters is still waiting for Sonja to get her toaster oven off the ground just for this.

There is also something called the Kelly clause, which was instituted after Kelly Dodd was going after some of her RHOC castmates on social media while the show was airing. It says that Housewives can be fined for disparaging their co-workers online. If any of you follow Kelly’s Twitter, it seems like she’s decided to just pay the fines rather than keep her mouth shut.

RHONJ has a special carve-out in their contracts, too. They’re the only cast whose husbands also get paid for appearing on the show, which is why they still film together when the ladies are away on a trip. In the past, all of the cast’s children who were over 18 also got an annual stipend for appearing on the show. I’ve also heard that some veteran Housewives’ children who appear frequently, like Tamra’s son Ryan, also get paid for their participation.

There are a few other Housewife bonuses. In recent years, they get a stipend of about $1,200 to buy a reunion dress, which, depending on the dress, might not cover the whole thing. They also get their hair and makeup covered for the reunion and for other official shoots.

Being on Housewives can also be great for business. Cary Deuber says that the laser center she and her plastic-surgeon husband developed while on the show is still flourishing thanks to its Housewives exposure. She says 30–40 percent of her business comes from people aware of the practice because they saw it on television.

Cindy Barshop, who was trying to sell a line of intimate hair-removal products during her one season on RHONY, says she walked right into Target to pitch her product and walked out with a deal. “All the people there watched the show,” she says. “That’s how I got in.”

But so many of the Housewives brands come and go (Vicki’s Vodka, anyone?) or don’t get off the ground at all, like every idea Sonja has ever come up with. Being on Housewives is not a promise of business success, it’s just a loudspeaker to shout a message into.

Outside of entrepreneurship, being a cast member offers as many opportunities as a Housewife’s dignity is flexible. There are the dance singles, podcasts, and YouTube channels. Some go on to feature on Dancing With the Stars or Celebrity Apprentice, back when its host wasn’t ruining the free world. NeNe, Kandi, and Erika have all appeared on Broadway to a big boost in ticket sales. Luann charges sometimes upwards of 100 dollars for tickets to her cabaret show that tours around the country. Many of the Housewives have books, and some of those are even best sellers.

Then there’s the public appearances, sponsored social-media posts, and $150 Cameos so that Ramona can talk about herself for three minutes and then wish your best friend a happy birthday. There are a million different ways to monetize fame, and it seems like the Real Housewives have found just about every single one.

Just, please, whatever you do, don’t ask them to pay for their own trips.

Excerpted from THE HOUSEWIVES Copyright © 2021 by Brian Moylan. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved.

How Much Do the Real Housewives Get Paid?