Jackie O: “I did Popstars for free”

Presenter Jackie O. has revealed she was never paid a salary for judging 2000 reality series Popstars.

“I did Popstars for free … I didn’t get paid for Popstars,” she said on her KIIS FM radio show this morning.

The Screentime series, which discovered girlband Bardot, was a TV sensation, with bumper ratings for Seven and frenzied public appearances by the cast. It also discovered a young Sophie Monk and led to a wave of copycat shows.

“The first series, which was the biggest one, the Bardot one, I did that for free,” she said.

“No one mentioned anything about money, so I didn’t mention money,” she added. “I remember we were in Adelaide doing auditions … and you know how they hand out per diems which is like $60 … they handed me this envelope, and I didn’t know what a per diem was … and I opened it and I saw $67 in there, and I went up to the executive director and gave him a big hug and said, ‘Thank you so much!’

“I was stoked I was getting cash!”

As part of the Kyle & Jackie O radio show, Jackie ‘O’ Henderson is now paid more than $4m a year.

Via: news.com.au


  1. That explains a lot. I remember watching a repeat of this a few years ago late at night and obviously no one realising how big the series was going to be in year 1 looking at Jackie O thinking “when the host had to wear their own clothes during production” before a designer label would have likely got on board in the latter series.

  2. Wasn’t this kind of pre-reality TV, when reality TV was “real” and the show was sold more as a documentary of industry officials doing their day job of forming a band. Therefore presumably Popstars became a part of the job Jackie O was doing at the time and they used that excuse not to pay her (and hopefully the other judges).

  3. How ironic that she got paid the least for her most successful television gig. 😛

    I used to listen to their show in my early teens some 17 years ago (my God, how time flies), and Jackie is quite likeable, and I don’t particularly dislike Kyle as a radio host, but he does not belong on TV. People ought to stick to what they do best rather than aim to be jacks of all trades in our already minuscule entertainment industry, where we are used to seeing the same old faces, often robbing a lot of promising formats of their potential.

    • Same here, Jackie and Kyle did a late night shift which was great listening, particularly the woman listener who kept calling them to say how much she hated their show (but still tuned in)

  4. How bizarre .. There would have been a signed contract and she was doing a job , yet no mention of money lol . Taken advantage of ??

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