Top-earning reality stars: Kardashians, the Situation are making millions

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Just in time for the Christmas crunch comes a perhaps-confounding list of top-earning reality stars for 2010.

For the small price of diminished privacy, these ‘real’ personalities rake in a ton of dough. With their per-episode salaries, endorsement deals and nightclub and other promotional appearances, these folks are taking their boom mikes and camera crews directly to the bank.

Not surprisingly, Kim Kardashian and her colorful sisters top the list, compiled by the Daily Beast.

Kim herself nabs the No. 1 spot (another top ranking for her in 2010), with an estimated $6 million in income. Just don’t expect that cash pile to pay off any self-named credit cards. The name you might not expect is that of the second-highest earner: Lauren Conrad.

Clocking in with $5 million in earnings this year, Conrad hasn’t technically been a reality star since May 2009. However, the legacy she’s carried — a successful franchise of novels and more successful clothing collections — earns her 2010 cash-cow status.


Fear not, Conrad will be back on MTV, though not for the lunches and love lives she touched on ‘The Hills.’ The new show will focus on her enterprise.

‘The Real Housewives of New York’ star Bethenny Frankel arrives at No. 3 with $4 million, with Conrad’s ‘Hills’ pal Audrina Patridge next at $3.5 million. Matching Patridge cent-for-cent, according to the report, is reality mom Kate Gosselin.

With a nod for the boys, at No. 6 we find Mike ‘the Situation’ Sorrentino, earning $3 million for hawking products including his own fitness DVDs and a protein-infused vodka. Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian come in after the Sitch with $2.5 million each, rounded out by another ‘Jersey Shore’ fist-pumper, Paul ‘DJ Pauly D’ Delvecchio, with $2 million for the year.

Former playmate Kendra Wilkinson claims the No. 10 position with $2 mill as well. What do you think of the highest-paid reality stars? Tell us in comments below.


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— Matt Donnelly

Right photo: From left, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian are the best-paid family in reality television. Photo credit: E! Entertainment.

Left photo: Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino at The Times’ Photo Booth on Dec. 5, 2010, at the ‘VH1 Divas Salute the Troops’ concert at the Marine Corps base in Miramar. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times