‘DWTS’: Cheryl Burke Isn’t Paid Nearly As Much As You’d Think

Cheryl Burke has made more appearances on Dancing With the Stars than any other professional dancer. She’s appeared on 23 seasons, and despite becoming one of the show’s most well-known cast members, she’s not paid nearly as much as you might think. 

Cheryl Burke | Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank

There is a big pay discrepancy among ‘DWTS’ stars

If reports are correct, then there’s a major pay discrepancy between the dancers who appear on the show, and the stars with whom they dance. Depending on the number of rounds the stars make it through, their salaries continue to rise.

Reel Rundown reports that the stars are paid $125,000 just for signing on to the show. From there, the pay keeps growing by as much as $50,000 per week, should they make it to the finale. (They’re also paid an additional $360,000 for making it to the finale.) The judges are paid a pretty penny, too, making somewhere between $1.6 million and $2 million for one season. It’s unclear how much host Tyra Banks makes for her appearances. 

Cheryl Burke and A.J. McLean on season 29 of 'DWTS'
Cheryl Burke and A.J. McLean on season 29 of ‘DWTS’ | Eric McCandless/ABC

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Cheryl Burke is paid a small percentage of what her co-stars make

Cheryl Burke is the longest-running dancer on the show, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s highly paid. Burke has been on the show for nearly all of its seasons, but the DWTS dancers only make a fraction of what the stars and judges make. Reports suggest the dancers are only paid about $1,200 per episode when they’re just starting out. But, as they appear on the show more, their salary can increase to more than $5,000 per episode — still tremendously lower than what anyone else on the show is paid.

Burke is arguably the most famous dancer on the show, yet she only makes 4% of her partner’s signing bonus. And, after nearly two dozen seasons on the show, Burke is reportedly only worth $450,000 — far less than the net worths of any of her past dance partners. Still, Burke has done other things to help build her net worth, including television appearances and the release of her autobiography, “Dancing Lessons,” in 2011.

Cheryl Burke
Cheryl Burke | Jason Kempin/WireImage

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Burke has won various awards for her dancing

Burke’s dancing skill didn’t come overnight. She’s grown up mastering the art of dance, and she has plenty of awards to show for it. Burke’s first major award came 15 years ago, when she was named 2005 World Cup Professional Rising Star Latin Champion. That same year, she earned similar titles at the San Francisco competition and the Ohio competition.

Since 2005, Burke has won other awards that are indirectly related to her dance efforts. She won a Primetime Emmy in 2006 for “Outstanding Choreography” on DWTS, and in 2007, she received the Role Model Award at the 7th Annual Filipino/American Library Gala.