What Producers Are Paying the Stars of TLC's 'Honey Boo Boo'

Alana Thompson

The small bet by the network has led to huge gains -- with 3 million viewers for the Aug. 29 episode alone.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Alana Thompson, the 7-year-old star of TLC's surprise hit Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, raised eyebrows by announcing on the show that "a dollar makes me holler."

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But what would $40,000 make her do? Apparently, just about anything. The series follows the outspoken pageant contestant -- a breakout from the network's popular docuseries Toddlers & Tiaras -- and her family through the world of child beauty contests and their self-proclaimed "redneck" life in McIntyre, Ga.

When Thompson's Toddlers interview containing her reference to "Honey Boo Boo Child" went viral this year (the clip has more than 4.5 million views on YouTube), the cable network offered the "beauty queen" and her family their own spinoff series.

Sources tell THR that the family of six (which recently expanded when Thompson's older sister, 18-year-old Anna Shannon, gave birth to daughter Kaitlyn on July 26) earns merely $2,000 to $4,000 an episode -- possibly seeing as much as $40,000 for the 10-episode debut season. (A small "location fee" also might be paid to film in the family home.)

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TLC's modest investment in the Thompsons has turned out to be lucrative. The series scored nearly 3 million viewers for its Aug. 29 installment (which followed the family at a water park) -- up 30 percent from the previous week and topping every network's coverage of the Republican National Convention. A TLC rep says the network does not comment on salaries.