Stars on an ensemble show are paid by how central they are to the show and according to the show's popularity.
"For those docu-ensembles, especially if they’re nobodies, per episode it ranges from low-end, like $1,500 an episode, to $3,000 at the high end," an agent told Business Insider. "And then after three years of success, it can go up to $7,000 to $10,000 an episode. After that, you start moving into the Kardashian level."
The Kardashian family signed an estimated $100 million deal for four more seasons of their E! show in 2015. That sounds like a lot of money (and it is), but it comes out to $25 million per season. That is then split among the family members. This is a case where the show drives the Kardashians' other businesses, such as their fashion lines, video games, and licensing deals.
"The Kardashian deal is structured in an overall deal with E!," the source said. "So they’re paid on an episodic basis but it’s really almost like they're salaried by E! on these big overall, completely exclusive deals."
"Pawn Stars," which is one of History Channel's highest-rated shows, paid Richard Harrison $15,000 an episode in 2014. Another star, Chumlee, who's weathering some legal problems now, made $25,000 an episode.