While the crew of Bravo’s Below Deck reality shows provides the bulk of the story and drama, a lot of spice and intrigue is supplied by the guests who charter the luxury yachts. Often their behavior, demands, and personality offer a lot to the shows, which begs the question: do the guests get paid a production fee to appear on the show? Do they get free vacations? Or, do they actually pay to be on this popular reality show?
The pampered guests you see on the show are actually paying to be on the show, not the other way around. Executive producer Mark Cronin confirmed that in 2020 to The Daily Dish that the guests “spend their real money to be on the show.” They do, however, get a 50% discount, and free airfare to charter a yachting trip on the show, so they are getting a deal.
They are chartering vacations on luxury yachts that start at $140,000 for a week on the low end. All the yachts featured on Below Deck: Mediterranean charter for at least $175,000, and up to $300,000 for the week. Even though these shows garner big ratings, it would not make much financial sense to offer up these luxury experiences as payment for being on the show. They also leave tips if the service goes beyond their expectations. Many of their strict demands leave the crews frazzled trying to deliver exactly what they want, and anticipation of a nice tip helps drive their will to provide above and beyond service.
This isn’t the only time subjects of reality TV have a net negative on their balance sheet for appearing in the spotlight. When it comes to shows that focus on splashy lifestyles, keeping up appearances for the brand with the most over-the-top fashions and lavish parties can sometimes become more of a priority than financial stability.