Kilcher Family set to rake in Season 6 riches as Alaska The Last Frontier returns

Alaska The Last Frontier are they paid 5

The question of whether reality TV stars get paid (and how much they’re paid) is one of the most frequently asked of the whole genre. And it comes up perhaps more than usual in the case of Alaska The Last Frontier, along with other survival-type shows, since the thought of compensation seems to run counter to the show’s whole whole homesteading premise and DIY aesthetic. But, as is always the case when cameras are involved, the show’s stars are indeed paid for their time.

One thing we do know is that the Kilchers’ net worth–including the value of the family homestead outside of Homer AK–is estimated at approximately $16 million dollars. The land is especially valuable, and has been in the family for several generations: Yule and Ruth Kilcher began their family there after immigrating from Switzerland to Alaska in 1936, when what’s now the state was an organized territory of the US. Their eight children included both Otto and Atz Kilcher–and, given that both men are grandfathers, the Kilcher homestead has touched its fourth generation of family members. (The $16 million figure is exclusive of Jewel Kilcher’s net worth; though she’ll be making her first appearance on the show during the upcoming season, her life exists well outside the parameters of the show.)

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But how much do the Kilchers make from Alaska The Last Frontier every year? A recent Business Insider article can help with an educated guess. “Nobodies” on a standard cable reality show can expect to earn approximately $1,500 per episode, or about $19,500 for a standard 13-episode season. But that’s the very low end of the spectrum: at the high end, and particularly where family ensembles are concerned, you’ve got the Kardashians, who in 2015 signed a three-year, $100 million-dollar deal with E!. The middle ground, according to BI’s article, comes after a few years of success–which the Kilchers have certainly had–and in the form of about “$7,000 to $10,000 an episode.”

It seems reasonable to assume that the major family members make somewhere in that range–and probably in the upper range, given that Alaska TLF is one of the most popular shows on Discovery. If that’s the case, individual Kilchers are likely bringing in upwards of six-figures for a season’s work. However, it’s also possible that Discovery has a deal with the Kilchers similar to what E! has with the Kardashians, in which case the entire family is treated as a single entity for business purposes, the payments are simplified, and the Kilchers divvy up the money according to their own arrangements.

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One intangible benefit of having such a successful show is that the tie-ins can be massively successful. Take, for example, Homestead Kitchen, Eivin and Eve’s just-released cookbook. Subtitled “Stories and Recipes from Our Hearth to Yours,” the tome capitalizes on the popularity of the family’s show while offering behind-the-scenes tidbits and fresh glimpses of life on the homestead.

Alaska The Last Frontier Season 6 premieres Sunday, October 16th–that’s tonight!–at 9 PM on Discovery.

RELATED ARTICLES: Jewel returns to the Kilcher family homestead for Alaska The Last Frontier Season 6 reunion

Atz Lee injury update: Alaska TLF star offers optimism, surgery photos one year after terrifying accident

Kilcher family faces possible backlash as long Alaskan winter sets in

Alaska The Last Frontier update: Are Shane and Kelli Kilcher leaving the show?

(Photo credits: Alaska The Last Frontier are they paid via Instagram)


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  • Che

    I usually avoid most reality shows with the word Alaska in the title.

    • Neuro Mancer

      I actively avoid all “reality” TV. This show, however, is different. It’s entertaining, especially for the family.

      • Gloria Penrose

        I love this show and I Jane and Atz Lee I hope everything is fine with them and yes she does need to put her foot down and tell him how she feels until he listens scream! I pray all works out for you BOTH open your eyes and your heart Atz Lee❤

  • Paula Csatari

    I like this show, but lately Atz Lee has been whining like a baby to get his cabin built so he can have a place for emotional & physical support. He should be thinking about setting up his family and getting the daily chores complete and quick feeling sorry for himself. Tired of his whine, whine, whine. Jane should tell him to be a man and shut his complaining.

    • Em

      It interesting that you posted this because I actually find Jane so annoying with all her whining? Isn’t it funny how everyone sees thing’s differently? Regardless i love this show! So refreshing to watch a positive family work together. I always enjoy seeing them learn from each other and pass down traditions.

      • Jams

        I’m with you on the Jan issue, se should not even be on the show

    • Brenda Cooper

      No, Jane should stop her whinning, she cries all the time, and hollers over everything. Can’t shoot a gun and can’t fish. I just don’t understand why she whines all the time. I turn the channel when she’s on.

    • Clinton Worrell

      do you realize that these “reality” shows are scripted. that the “reality” is fake, especially these shows on the discovery channel?
      these are scripted shows where the drama is played up for the tv audience.
      the show is mostly fake.
      there is a grocery store and restaurant nearby where they get most of their meals.

      • Paula Csatari

        well scripted or not(I’m sure some is)to be in the muck and slop seems pretty real. I’m sure they get certain supplies from somewhere, but I can’t imagine the average person doing what they do unless you are born & raised there and want to live off the land. the fishing and hunting look pretty “real” to me and gutting their prize and preparing what they do. I doubt where they live the grocery or diner is up the road, but you can think what you want Clinton.

        • Clinton Worrell

          yes…all of those “takes” of fishing, hunting, gardening at $10-$20k per episode gets tiring.

          • Paula Csatari

            I did read that the Kilcher family even before they started on the Discovery channel was worth in the millions. So they really don’t need the money, per say, it’s just to show how they live.

            • JohnnyooBravo

              I believe their land rich. I don’t think their looking to sell any land and have neighbors either so their kind of stuck.

          • dd

            I agree with you and can’t really sit through the episodes anymore
            Getting really boring. I especially dislike Otto and his wife who too often exclaims “o my god.#

            • ken singleton

              This is a standard American comment for nearly every situation.

            • R. Cope

              If you don’t want to watch it, change the channel. I like it and wish I could have been brought up like that.

        • Mary Pry

          I agree a lot of this show is scripted-and that is obvious, i grew up on a farm, used and outhouse, and watched pigs, c ows butchered, its hard work to say the least!!Eivin and Eve have beautiful kids.Atz Lee is selfish and self centered where Jane is concerned,,,,,where are his and Janes kids in this show>>??they are never on any of the segments?but its obvious they have some money,they are’nt doing that for nothing!!the clothes they wear are not cheap>and not from the dollar store>I sympathisize with Kelli-MS is not fun!!Hope the show continues.

          • Paula Csatari

            I agree, I don’t think money is an object on this show. And you’re right, their clothes are not from the dollar store, they look well made & cost money. It is sad to see Shane’s wife Kelli, going thru her ordeal. I admire her for doing the work she involves herself in. And yes, I wonder where Jane & Atz Lee children are. maybe they chose not to be on the show.

    • James

      lt’s not Alt Lee that’s the problem, it’s Jane were she is the main problem. True, Alt Lee has a lot of things going on but he does not whine, he tries to do what he can without help, when he needs help the family is there to help but not Jane. SHE DOESN’T BELONG ON THIS SHOW, show me one thing that she has done to help her husband besides bitch all the time.

      • Happy at 420

        you people must not actually watch the show because if you did you would know if it wasn’t for jane her baby ass husband would starve to death.

    • JohnnyooBravo

      Plus he should be more concerned about his wife getting plowed by these “male” friends Jane has all over the place. Always going hunting with them. Their goin Balls deep into her!

  • Eliot Scott

    Atz Lee does seem a bit self centered. More like I’m the man you the woman and we will do what I want or think is best, iregardless of your feelings. Unless they are playing it up for ratings, where Jane is always saying, I’ll keep my mouth shut for now, but one day I will speak my mind!
    Anyway, I also see that Atz Lee has a teenage son? What’s up with that? He never talks about him ( at least not on camera)
    All in all great show, can’t get enough!!!!!!

    • Clinton Worrell

      Atz Lee has a couple of kids from a previous relationship. they were on season one but live with his exe’s family.

  • William Parks

    Atz Lee is a self centered cry baby. Just like when they were harvesting wood for Shane and he threw a temper tantrum because everyone wouldn’t stop working with the tide coming in to help him get a piece of wood he wanted. Then as soon as they get back to the home beach, he takes off leaving the others to finish the work. I bet the other family members give him food all winter to survive

  • Agnes Andrasak

    Who cares if Shane and Kelly leave? Not a lot of self sufficiency by that couple. Love the show otherwise.

  • ken singleton

    This programme would be much better without the awful music which drowns out most of the dialogue, but of course American programmes cannot survive without background noise.

    • JohnnyooBravo

      You must get a different copy of the show. No baxkroumd anytging here except during the opening. Weird…

      • ken singleton

        I have been watching it in England on Sky. The music is certainly over the top.

  • Sharon Gough

    I have enjoyed watching these shows. I love the reactions to the staged predicaments they get into. One thing is for certain, at some time, these people did live this way. They are much to good at what they do as survival and there is no doubt they could do it again.

  • Ghost Man

    I’ve always enjoyed the show. However, I get tired of their constant reference in needing to do this or that in order to survive. They live 15 minutes from Homer with grocery stores, shopping, and Subways. They are no different than the regular outdoorsmen who hunts, fishes, and grows veggies in the backyard to supplement their every day life.

  • AR-PRO

    My wife and I really enjoyed watching the show, knowing alot of it is scripted, but since Atz Lee was injured I can’t stand him. I find it extremely offensive that he continously whines about his “PTSD”. Take a ride to the VA and ask what real PTSD is Atz, you walked off a cliff, you were injured, quit acting like a baby and get over it. It’s also getting really old hearing that if something isn’t done immediately they won’t survive the winter, these people have a net worth of several million dollars, there are retail stores within driving distance of their homes, ease up on the drama people!!

  • Lorraine White

    I love the show, especially how helpful Jane tries to be with any of the family who asks for her help,when Otto had his surgery & Jane had to take care of the cattle. Also, Atz Lee appears to be very selfish getting help to build a cabin, a second home, when his brother Shane & his wife with a serious medical condition, have been trying to build a primary home for 2 seasons.

    • greg TURK

      I agree with alot said. I have MS so I really like hearing about kelli.Watching Atz Ler I have seen him change over the seasons. While his accident was serious it does not qualified as PTSD. I’m sorry. Heal be happy enjoy life family.

    • JohnnyooBravo

      Yeah, WTH? I thought the same.

  • Paula Csatari

    well last nite was the season finale. Atz Lee still concentrating on his well being, which he should, but consider Jane & his family(children, if there are any). I can’t imagine how much more remote you’d want to live but if he wants to go & stay in his cabin with plastic windows periodically, all power to him. I’m still supporting Jane and glad she’s not giving in to Atz Lee’s childish ideas. He’s a man who should be supporting his family and they would certainly help him with his fears and help out whenever needed. they have(esp. his father & Bonnie)all along. They’ve neglected their chores(including Jane also, w/fishing & hunting to provide for her family). The cabin is a getaway and that’s how he should use it and maybe Jane & the children(?)would be happy to join him. As far as neighbors, they are all helping each other.

    • ladyofshalott

      Atz Lee has abandoned Jane. He’s selfish.

  • Liz loe

    We here at my house don’t think we like Alta lee. He’s been very self centered about himself and His cabin. What about being a father and husband? He probably took years getting things for his family and expects Jane to give it all up to go live inmiddle of nothing. Sad he’s not being a husband and father. Specially after they nursed him back from a life changing fall.

  • Liz loe

    Why doesn’t Alts lee help his brother build his house instead of being so selfish? Now that’s what a family should do? Right… instead of building a cabin his wife does Not want.. right??

  • Dialogos68

    I like the show…. But people must realize that they are not in the wilderness. They are a few miles outside of homer and can drive to the store or a school like anyone else…

  • Kim

    What a question. They deserve to get paid. I’m sure no-one else would go to work every day for free.