Inside the Octomom reality show contract

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Inside the Octomom reality show contract

Mon Jul 27, 2009 @ 07:41PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Last week, "Octo-Mom" Nadya Suleman signed a deal with Eyeworks, a British production company, to begin work on a TV show that will feature her 14 children. Because the children are minors, the parties took the contract on Friday to the Los Angeles Superior Court for approval.

The papers reveal that the kids will collectively earn nearly $250,000 over the next three years, including $125,000 for 36 days of shooting in the first year, $75,000 for 21 days of shooting in the second year, and $50,000 for 14 days of shooting in the third year. Of course, the money will be split among the 14 children, which adds up to less than $18,000 per kid or about $250 per kid per day of shooting. 

SAG doesn't hold jurisdiction on reality performers, but for perspective, the union scale minimum was reportedly set at $800 per day in its last deal with AMPTP. 

Suleman's contract for her kids is raising the eyebrows of some child performer monitors. One group is asking the Superior Court to appoint a guardian to oversee the financial interests of Suleman's 14 children.

This isn't only a question of money. Reality shows like "Jon & Kate Plus 8" that feature children have been investigated by authorities to see whether working conditions violate child labor laws. 

Plus, reality TV contracts have been known to be incredibly generous towards producers. For example, the contract signed by the women in "Real Housewives of New Jersey" gave producers among many other jaw-dropping clauses the right to film the ladies in everything except bathing, urination/defecation, and sex and gave producers 10 percent of income of "any and all gross income...unrelated to the Series" the women earned up to four years after the last episode of the series.

Hopefully, the judge will make sure that Suleman's children made out better.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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