Do talk show guests get paid? Everything you need to know about celebrities on talk shows

Do Talk Show Guests Get Paid

Most of us have listened to at least one talk show, and for some people, hearing interesting guests talk with their favorite hosts is a highlight of their week. The more you listen to these programs, the more you might ask the question: “do talk show guests get paid?” Let’s find out…

It’s common to think that the answer is a simple “yes”. We’re all busy people, and taking an hour or two out of our week without financial gain might not make sense. But on a deeper level, things are often more complicated than we tend to think. 

So, do celebrities get paid to be on talk shows? And what about non-celebrities that are invited as guests? Keep reading if you want your curiosity satisfied because we’re going to go over all of this and more today.

How do talk shows choose their guests?

Before we talk about whether talk show guests get paid or not, it’s worth looking at how these individuals are chosen in the first place. These days, you’ll find a range of talk shows covering every genre you can think of – and they’re not always based on the music industry alone. 

When thinking about concepts they’d like to discuss, hosts and their team will determine which people best fit the bill. They’ll reach out to the individual directly after that or – if they’ve got a team of representatives – to them instead. 

The latter will be common in sports especially, when many professional clubs have media teams that can grant or deny access. 

Outreach methods can vary from emails to phone calls. It’s then up to the other party to decide whether they’d like to appear or not. 

In some cases, talk shows will look for several qualities. Subject knowledge is one thing, and if they’re trying to host a debate, they’ll look for a range of opinions.

Do celebrities get paid to be on talk shows?

If you’ve ever watched a famous person speak on the radio or TV, you’ve probably asked yourself: “Do celebrities get paid for interviews?”. 

The answer to the above question is that it depends. News shows usually will not pay guests for appearing on their programs.

Going back to the sports example, media teams will usually set up interviews for the player; the individual simply needs to turn up. In this instance, things are somewhat similar to post-match press conferences; individuals’ salaries aren’t supplemented for being there, though your media image is on the line if you do anything outlandish. 

When we talk about evening talk shows, things differ somewhat. In these instances, guests often do get paid for showing up. The money they receive is usually much lower than they would get for their main job, but some stipends can be pretty high – so it depends on the show and whether they want to do this or not.

Do non-celebrities get paid to appear on talk shows?

You might have been surprised to hear that celebrities don’t usually receive a significant payment for appearing on guest shows. Another question you might find yourself asking is whether the rules differ for people that you might not consider to be celebrities. 

Talk shows usually don’t discriminate between celebrities and non-celebrities. If an individual is higher-profile, they might receive a larger stipend – but a program isn’t going to not pay someone they class not to be a celebrity. 

Like radio talk shows, TV news talk shows usually won’t pay guests for showing up. In both cases, the financial results – if there are any – are generally longer term. Gaining more awareness will lead to more people discovering what they do, buying their products or services, and so on. 

Do payments differ on different mediums?

So far, we’ve primarily discussed radio talk shows – and whether or not it’s common for guests on those programs to receive money for showing their faces. At this point, you might be wondering whether it’s more common for other media channels to give cash for guest appearances.

TV talk shows are immensely popular in several countries, including in both the US and the UK. For many people, it’s not uncommon to watch them while eating their dinner. Again, though, most of the people you see on those programs will not be paid for showing up. 

Often, show guests aren’t expected to pay to get to the studio out of their own pocket. After all, it would get pretty expensive for someone to fly from New York to Los Angeles – and even more so if they were visiting from overseas. 

Many TV talk shows will pay for expenses such as travel and accommodation.

Why do guests go on talk shows if they don’t get paid much? 

If you’re a busy person with little time during their day, you might think it’s a little pointless to appear on a talk show if you’re not paid a significant amount of money. However, showing up on these programs has a wide range of advantages for guests – and we’ve listed three of these below.

Media exposure

Media exposure is arguably the most obvious reason that someone would appear on a talk show, especially if they’re relatively obscure. For some artists and professionals, showing up on national television or radio can elevate their status and get their name out there. 

When someone becomes more commonly known, it’s easier for them to gain new fans and potential future appearances. They can also make themselves known to potential sponsors that might want a brand partnership with them. 

On the flip side, media exposure is also essential for people that have a negative view in the press. If someone’s done something bad, talk show appearances are a good way for them to explain themselves and issue an apology if they want. Doing this can help repair any damage that might have been caused to their reputation.

Thought leadership

Another reason that someone might agree to appear on a talk show is to demonstrate how much they know about a particular field. This might not be so common in the world of entertainment, but it’s something that is true with shows focusing on global affairs and politics. 

Showing up on a talk show can give people an excellent platform to demonstrate their expertise. One example of this is if they participate in a debate and manage to at the very least hold themselves up well. 

Demonstrating thought leadership can again lead to further appearances in the future. On top of that, it can act as a funnel for their social media platforms and website – enabling people who’d like to keep in touch or follow their journey to do so.

Advertising

We spoke about exposure in a few earlier subsections, and talk shows can play a crucial role in advertising in this respect. If someone has played a role in or released a new movie or music album, appearing on a talk show is an excellent way to promote it. 

Some talk show guests will agree to appear on the condition that their host promotes what they’ve done. In some cases, this might be to play one song – or a snippet from a particular song. It could also involve playing the trailer for a movie or picking a smaller bit to show the audience. 

Do podcast show guests get paid?

In this article, we’ve primarily covered commercial radio and TV talk shows. One medium that has exploded over the past couple of years is the podcast, and you’ll find countless ones for almost every imaginable niche these days. 

Podcasts often have less red tape than talk shows. Rather than needing to pitch to a media company, creators can choose to make their own path and keep the income they make for themselves – along with cross-promoting their content on YouTube and other social platforms. 

For smaller podcasts, show guests almost always do not get paid. It’s also common for larger ones not to pay significant amounts to their guests if anything at all.

A guest show appearance on your favorite talk show isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get paid

Talk shows have been part of popular culture in many countries for decades, and they’re probably not going to disappear anytime soon – even if more people are looking for shorter-form content to consume. 

They provide a source of entertainment for their audiences and have several benefits for the hosts – including exposure and long-term financial gains. 

Answering the “do talk show guests get paid?” question is complex, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to explain this. Some of the larger programs will pay at least a small stipend, and in some cases, the package they pay can exceed significant amounts. 

If you’re relying on talk show appearances to make a sustainable living, however, it’s probably not going to work. Many programs don’t pay anything at all, so you’re better off thinking about the other pros that appearing on one of these programs might have. 

Radio Fidelity: For the love of radio.