Dancing with the Stars 2019: Sean Spicer, Controversial Choice, Will Make Lots of Money

Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary, could make a lot of money–and earn other benefits–if he wins Dancing With the Stars.

Contestants on the ABC competition series make $125,000 for the show’s rehearsal period and their first two weeks on the air. If they make it to week three and beyond, they begin to earn additional fees each week.  The maximum contestants can earn is $295,000.

By comparison, Spicer was making just under $180,000 during his time with the Trump administration, per a White House report in 2017.

Contestants on previous seasons could make as much as $345,000, but potential earnings this season will fall short of that number.

But the potential benefits of being on Dancing with the Stars go beyond the fee earned from the production. Many have used their time on the show to jumpstart their careers and landed lucrative new positions.

Alfonso Ribeiro, for example, who won Season 19 of the show in 2014, was named the host of ABC reboot of America’s Funniest Home Videos, which launched in 2015.

In the face of a backlash, former press secretary Spicer said he hoped his role as a contestant on ABC’s show can help “move the country forward in a positive way.”

Spicer told CNN that his Dancing With the Stars was about entertainment, not politics. ABC revealed Spicer on Wednesday as one of 12 celebrity contestants for season 28 of the competition series.

“I think this is an entertainment show. I look forward to having some fun. And if people are looking for news, I suggest they tune into a news program,” Spicer told CNN. “I am very happy with who I am and who I support. I’m not changing. I am giving people another opportunity to see a side of me that is different.”

News of Spicer’s selection as a contestant on the long-running ballroom dance reality series sparked an uproar given Spicer’s role in the early months of the Trump administration. “DWTS” host Tom Bergeron went so far as to publicly express his concern about the choice, saying that he believed producers had agreed to steer clear of political figures at such a fractious time.

Spicer said he hopes to prove that Americans with differing political views can find common ground in entertainment.

“I think Tom has been a great host. And I firmly believe when the season is over he’s probably going to realize bringing a diverse group of people together, who can interact in a fun, civil and respectful way, is actually a way we can move the country forward in a positive way,” Spicer said. “And it will make this show an example of how Americans can disagree about politics and tune into good entertainment shows and keep their politics at bay.”