Take a look at the below list of the world’s Top 10 Biggest Reality Show Winners of All Time till 2017. For nearly three decades, the world has become fascinated with seeing people live candid lives in front of the camera. Unscripted television programming, also known as reality TV show, has come a long ways in terms of how much money a person can make. In recent, celebrities of past and present have used this as a marketing tool to promote a new product, or increase their brand visibility. From real estate mogul-turned-U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump to music superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Adam Levine, this help keep their careers afloat.
However, more fascinating are regular people, mostly without acting credits, who use their personality or talent to become popular and eventually, millionaires. Here is a list of those who became a part of pop culture and impressive bank accounts without Hollywood good looks or theater training.
List of the world’s Top 10 Biggest Reality Show Winners of All Time till 2017
10. Tiffany Pollard (Net worth .5 Million)
Pollard started her road to fame as a contestant on VH1’s Flavor of Love in 2006. In the show’s debut, she was named “New York” after her home state and in-your-face attitude. Pollard was also one of the first reality show stars to get their own spin-off shows – I Love NY (which ran three seasons), New York Goes to Hollywood, and New York Gets a Job. Her natural comedic timing has also been used in small parts on scripted television and featured films. After taking a break from the camera, she has made numerous appearances in scripted shows based in the States and the U.K. Pollard has also performed on the live stage.
9. Nicole Snooki Polizzi (Net worth 4.5 Million)
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi got her start on MTV’s Jersey Shore back in 2009. The once-aspiring veterinary technician was paid $150,000 per episode in the last season of Jersey Shore. During the height of her popularity, she authored several books of the fiction and lifestyle genres. Today, she makes guest appearances and stars in HGTV’s Nicole and Jionni’s Shore Flip with husband Jionni Lavalle.
8. Teresa Giudice (Net worth $11 Million)
A long-time cast member of Real Housewives of New Jersey, which is probably the most volatile show of the entire franchise. She and her incredible dark mane have been a consistent presence since its debut in 2009. Like NeNe Leakes, she enjoys an extravagant lifestyle and has a number of prosperous ventures. The former assistant buyer for Macy’s has co-authored three cookbooks that have made the New York Times bestseller list. Giudice has also created a line of cocktails called Fabellini and a line of hair care products. However, the Giudice family has faced a number of legal challenges with both Teresa and husband Joe having to do prison time.
7. Linnethia NeNe Leakes (Net worth $12 Million)
Leakes was once a single mom who became an exotic dancer after surviving an abusive relationship. Today, she makes almost $2 million a year and is the longest-running cast member on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta. Her trademark blonde hair and sassy disposition have made her a viewer favorite and has helped her move into scripted shows like Glee, Fashion Police, and the New Normal. Leakes has also starred in local and national theater. In 2014, she partnered with the Home Shopping Network to launch her own clothing line. Today, she continues to act and is headlining her own one-woman comedy tour.
6. Ryan Seacrest (Net worth $15 Million)
Also of American Idol fame, has a number of ventures. In addition to hosting one of the most popular shows for the Fox network, he’s also an executive producer (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Shahs of Sunset) and syndicated radio personality. He studied both radio and journalism in his younger years before making the move to Hollywood. After getting bit parts on shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, he got his big break as a co-host on the American version of Pop Idol, which was popular in Britain and other parts of Europe. Seacrest is also the host of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. His current net worth is around 15 million. He is one of the world’s Top 10 Biggest Reality Show Winners of All Time till 2017.
5. Willie Robertson (Net worth $20 Million)
The star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, is probably the most unlikely of reality show millionaires. As the CEO of Duck Commander, a duck call and hunting apparel company started by his father in 1972, he has taken the family business to new heights. The entire Robertson clan, which also includes Robertson’s two brothers and their families, show a more humble, Christian-based life in Louisiana. However, a 2012 interview with GQ magazine would shake things up a bit. Robertson, a married father of 6, made remarks that compared homosexualtity to bestiality. Although a media frenzy ensued and their popularity waned a bit, the show continues to air years after its debut in 2012.
4. Bethenny Frankel (Net worth $25 Million)
The Real Housewives of New York’s Frankel has always had her sights set on Hollywood. After attending NYU in the early 1990s, she headed west to work as a production assistant on Saved by the Bell and got a few small parts on television shows. Shortly before joining the Bravo franchise in 2008, she starred in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Like NeNe Leakes, she would have several spin-off shows, as well as her own talk show from 2012-2014. Her trademark as a vivacious woman with a petite frame would help with her most famous brand to date, Skinnygirl. Under this brand, Frankel has written books and created a popular line of premium cocktails tailored for the person looking to cut calories and sugar intake.
3. Judge Judy Sheindlin (Net worth $47 Million)
Sheindlin began her TV court Career in 1996. Before the small screen, she was a supervising family court judge in Manhattan, NY. Known for her quick wit and comebacks to witnesses that get out of line on camera, this is not an act. After being featured in the Los Angeles Times newspaper in the early 1990s for her candor, Hollywood stepped up to show a new attitude in courtroom drama. Sheindlin also shares her wisdom in a number of books that deal with life situations, like common law marriage. She also has a website that gives advice and features editorials congruent of the Judge Judy brand. Her image has also been parodied in popular shows like The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
2. Simon Cowell (Net Worth $95 Million in 2014)
London-born Cowell, who became famous for judging talent, was worth $95 million in 2014. As part of the panel on shows like America’s Got Talent, X-Factor, and the Idol franchise in the U.S. and the U.K., it’s hard to believe that Cowell’s start in music was in EMI Publishing’s mailroom in the late 1970s. After some strategic moves, he joined BMG and set up S Records in the early 1990s. On his roster were novelty acts like the Power Rangers and Teletubbies. Years later, he would collaborate with Simon Fuller to create a U.K.-based competitive singing program called Pop Idol. It was here where he began a reputation for being tough but honest in the judging of contestants. Today, he continues to produce a number of competitive talent shows across the continent.
1. Gordon Ramsay (Net worth $118 Million)
Ramsay heads a culinary media empire that is built on his need for perfection and boiling hot temper. After training and studying extensively, Ramsey branched out on his own in 1998. His Chelsea (U.K.) helped him win his 3rd Michelin star, which not only broke records but helped him to open more restaurants and gastropubs in the U.K. and a few major North American cities. The same year, Ramsey made his reality show debut as a guest judge but he would gain international fame by starring in show franchises Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, and Masterchef. In addition to television, he has written more than 20 books and is a weekend contributor to the (British) Times, and has a line of cookware.
These are the world’s Top 10 Biggest Reality Show Winners of All Time till 2017. At one time, reality television was looked at as a way for unemployed actors to get low-paying work before returning to regular employment. Nowadays, instead of riding off into the sunset for good, people are using camera time as a wise investment.