History’s reality TV show, Pawn Stars, chronicles what happens at the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Austin Lee Russell, better known as Chumlee, has been part of Pawn Stars since it began in 2009. Chumlee gets paid more than the average reality TV star thanks to his many years on the series. Here’s how much he’s paid per episode in 2023.
Austin Lee Russell, aka Chumlee, wasn’t sure he’d make it on ‘Pawn Stars’
Richard “Old Man” Harrison and his son, Rick Harrison, opened the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in 1989. Rick’s son, Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, was best friends with Austin Lee Russell, aka Chumlee. Chumlee and Corey worked at the pawn shop after spending a lot of time there as a kid, Looper reports. And when History started creating Pawn Stars, Chumlee noted he wasn’t sure he’d get cast.
“There were 10 other employees in the shop and they were looking for a fourth person to put in the show,” he explained. “I thought to myself, well, I’ve known these guys my whole life. We have good camaraderie, and I’m just going to be funny and joke with them like we would normally do and not get nervous in front of the cameras, and it kind of worked out.”
While Chumlee’s dealt with legal battles and scandals through the years, he remains a staple on Pawn Stars. Fans continue to watch him well into the new episodes airing in 2023.
How much does Chumlee make per episode from ‘Pawn Stars’ in 2023?
Chumlee makes more than the average reality TV star thanks to his tenure on Pawn Stars. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has a net worth of $5 million and makes around $25,000 per episode in 2023. That’s not bad considering he began working at Gold & Silver at just 21 years old.
The publication notes Chumlee still works behind the counter at Gold & Silver in 2023. He also started his own company that sells novelty items and opened Chumlee’s Candy on the Boulevard in 2017. According to the candy store’s Instagram, the shop is a “Las Vegas-based candy store selling nostalgic, novelty, and bulk candy. A variety of sodas, along with unique keychains, coffee, and bobbleheads.” The social media account has 21,000 followers, and Chumlee regularly stops by to greet customers and fans.
Despite Chumlee’s fame from the show, he’s not the wealthiest Pawn Star. Distractify reports Rick Harrison has a net worth of $9 million, making him the richest from the show.
Is ‘Pawn Stars’ staged?
Pawn Stars fans adore watching Chumlee and the rest of the gang take a look at rare memorabilia. But is the show staged?
Insiders who spoke to The Sun said aspects of the show are staged. While the series doesn’t appear to be scripted, they reshoot several scenes to get viable footage for TV. Additionally, the show utilizes extras. “They brought that cool museum guy in to validate the piece,” an insider shared. “It didn’t appear to be scripted very much, but they did reshoot a couple of the negotiations.”
“Some people have a great item to sell, but they appear nervous on film,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds. “It can take several tries to get it right, depending on the person. … Producers have cut items from the show because the seller could not ‘pull it together’ on camera, but it doesn’t happen often.”
Additionally, sellers are examined before they’re put on camera. “Off camera, we have to make sure that these people will actually sell the stuff at a reasonable price, otherwise they’re just trying to be on TV,” the executive producer said.
Pawn Stars airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on History.