COMEDIAN and former I'm A Celeb contestant Akmal Saleh says there is only one thing motivating the bunch of B-listers heading into the African jungle on this Sunday's season four premiere of the show: Money.
The comic, who appeared as a contestant on the second season of the reality series, made the frank admission on his new breakfast show Mandy and Akmal on 107.7 2GO Central Coast this morning.
He was responding to comments made by Rove McManus yesterday in which the former talk show host declared he had too much "credibility" to ever appear on I'm A Celeb.
"When he (Rove) says 'I have integrity, or credibility,' you can exchange that word, 'credibility,' for money," Akmal said.
"If he didn't have money, he'd exchange that credibility for cash."
Saleh, who appeared relieved when he was the second person to be eliminated from the 2016 season of I'm A Celeb, admitted money was his motivating factor for appearing on the show, which sees contestants compete in all manner of stomach-churning, death-defying challenges.
"You think I like the taste of fish guts? No. When you see the show, look at these so-called celebrities' eyes. They've got that look in their eyes, like, 'Oh ... I should have been more careful with my money. If I'd bought Bitcoin, had a savings account or spoken to a financial adviser, I wouldn't be in this mess right now'."
"No one wants to do these shows. No one wants to do it. No one. It's only for the money."
In an interview with news.com.au in December 2016, Saleh said he barely knew anything about I'm A Celeb before signing on.
"I was really pushed into it by my manager and my friends," he said, "I did it for the money because I was really in a really bad financial situation."
But it became clear pretty quickly to Saleh that the show wasn't for him.
"People who win these reality shows tend to be sports people because they understand teamwork and they're tough mentally. None of those virtues apply to comedians. I was wrong for it from the start and I knew that from day one.
"I tried to leave on day one, actually."
While celebrities who appear on the show compete for $100,000 to be donated to their chosen charity, their own appearance fees are a closely-guarded secret, and the source of much speculation. Last year US actor Tom Arnold sued Network Ten over his time on the show.
According to Arnold, he signed up for the jungle and a follow-up tour in exchange for a total payment of $US425,000, but said after the show he was still owed $US140,000
However, Network Ten has hit back, claiming the agreed deal was done and dusted.
I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here season four premieres this Sunday January 28, 7:30pm on Network Ten.