DANCING WITH THE STARS, DWTS, Melissa Gilbert, Martina Navratilova, Gavin DeGraw


It must cost a trillion dollars to insure the people on Dancing With the Stars. Or are the dancers on their own when they get hurt? They're always suffering from something.

—Hit da Ground, via the inbox

Indeed. I never knew there were so many ways to injure a groin without pissing off a member of the opposite gender. (And they say reality TV isn't educational.) If Melissa Gilbert, Steve-O, Melissa Rycroft and Ralph Macchio are any indication, it's a dangerous time to be a has-been who dances. As for insuring these poor folks, here's what I can tell you:

It's not as spendy as you might think. Even with concussions and back injuries.

For shows like this, contestants usually carry their own insurance and sign waivers promising not to sue producers in the event of on-the-job catastrophe. But just to be safe, production companies often buy their own insurance for contestants, just so the suits don't look like schmucks.

"The last thing these production companies want to do is leave a contestant hurt with no recourse, no place to go to treat their injuries," notes Lorrie McNaught, reality TV insurance expert with Aon/Albert G. Ruben. "The shows don't need bad press getting out there. The networks wouldn't keep picking up these kinds of shows if the contestants weren't happy."

True that. So how much cash are we talking to make sure that Melissa Gilbert remains ambulatory, and that nothing permanently happens to a gent's groin?

"Honestly, it's a soft market right now," McNaught tells this B!tch. "Insurance rates over the past couple of years have plummeted...you're still probably talking close to between 1 and 2 percent of a show's budget."

And these days, you can get a lot of insurance for that money. For anything. A few years ago, McNaught worked with a reality show featuring Jackass alum Steve-O.

"It was one of those shows where he picked the craziest things you could possibly think of to do," McNaught recalls.

Including—really—stapling his own privates to his leg.

"No kidding," McNaught tells me. "And we managed to get that covered by insurance. The point is, anything is insurable, as long as you are able to get to the bottom of how something is going to be done."

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