Is Deena Cortese getting arrested and making out with girls on Jersey Shore just to get more money? Would anyone really know who she is otherwise?
—Sal, Victorville, via the inbox
It is quite interesting that her recent arrest happened, lucratively enough, during the current taping for the Shore's sixth season. But no matter. Even if Cortese hadn't pulled these exact stunts, I can almost guarantee that she'd get more money for a seventh season.
How do I know this, given that I don't go to a Laundromat and haven't tanned since 1987? Easy...
I talked to reality casting specialist Sarah Monson, who has worked on shows such as Survivor and Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?
Monson says typical reality TV contracts already include an option for a second season with a small bump in pay built in. So there: If Cortese comes back, she'll likely get a bit more than her reported $40,000-per-episode salary.
That said, it quite possible that Cortese may soon launch into an even higher income bracket—if not Snooki's reported $150,000-per-episode pay, but perhaps on the same level as, maybe, Vinnie, who supposedly brings in $90,000, or Sammy or Ronnie, who each command $80,000 per episode.
And if that significant raise does come, you can bet that, yes, it will be as a direct result of Meatball's on-camera antics. In the reality biz, Cortese is seen as younger and hungrier and eager to make a name for herself in a flashy ensemble cast, Monson tells me.
"Bringing drama is what you're cast for," when it comes to a show like Jersey Shore, Monson points out. "The cream rises to the top."