‘Jersey Shore’: Here’s How Much the Roommates Earned for Season 1

In December 2009, Jersey Shore took the world by storm. The show instantly became a hit with MTV fans. Regardless of how popular Jersey Shore Season 1 was, fans might be surprised to learn how much the cast earned during their first summer in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

'Jersey Shore' cast earnings season 1
Jenni J Woww Farley, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio, Sammi Sweetheart Giancola, Vinny Guadagnino, Nicole Snooki Polizzi, Michael The Situation Sorrentino | Photo by Donna Svennevik/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Compared to season 1, the ‘Jersey Shore’ cast earned significantly more in later seasons

In 2012, RadarOnline reported the cast earning a lot more than they did in 2009. During season 6 of the MTV series, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Pauly DelVecchio reportedly earned $150,000 per episode. Also, each roommate earned $400,000 as a signing bonus and another $200,00 at the end of the season. Reunion episodes earned the cast $150,000. 

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As for the rest of the cast’s earnings in 2012, Jenni “JWoww” Farley brought home $100,00 per episode, Vinny Guadagnino earned $90,000 per episode, and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola earned $80,000 per episode. Deena Cortese made the least in 2012, earning $40,000 per episode.

Allegedly, the cast earn less for ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ 

The early seasons of Jersey Shore were wildly successful for MTV. Fans loved the high level of drama and relatability of the series. When MTV brought the roommates back together for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, the ratings weren’t “to par with the original seasons,” according to a former story producer for the show. “I don’t think [their earnings are] anywhere near what they used to make, only because the ratings aren’t [there],” they shared on Reddit.

The ‘Jersey Shore’ cast earned nothing for Season 1  

During the first season of Jersey Shore, the roommates were allowed to stay in Danny Merk’s shore house free of charge — but they had to work at the Shore Store. In addition to the free room and board, each roommate was paid to work in the T-shirt shop. “They started off at $10 an hour, then it went to $15, and then I think I gave them 20 bucks an hour at the very end,” store owner Merk told Vulture. “You live in a beach house for free and get 20 bucks an hour? It was great money!” 

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Guadagnino recalled earning nothing for agreeing to star in the first season of Jersey Shore. “We did the first season for nothing, zero dollars, except whatever we made at the Shore Store,” Guadagnino explained to Vulture. “Me and Ronnie, the first week, we told production, ‘Listen, I think we have to leave. We don’t have any money.'” At the time, Guadagnino was a recent college graduate without a job. Fortunately, there were plenty of shifts at the store that summer. 

The Shore Store wasn’t their only form of income 

Throughout season 1, the roommates would occasionally get paid to promote the clubs they frequented. “One night, they paid us to promote at Club Karma,” said Guadagnino. “I think they gave us like 500 bucks. At the time, if you handed me 500 bucks, that was like handing me a million dollars. I was good for the rest of the summer.” 

Some of the other roommates entered Jersey Shore with jobs. Ortiz-Magro was working in real estate when the first season began. “He was making real-estate calls on the duck phone,” Guadagnino said. “Snooki” was training to be a veterinary technician before the show started. “We would help deliver cows,” she recalled. “I had one more semester until I could graduate and then try to get my license.” Instead, Polizzi chose to spend a summer at the shore, and the rest is history. 

Today, the stars of Jersey Shore continue to earn money for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. Additionally, many of the roommates have businesses, allowing them to make more when they aren’t recording the series.