The most expensive tv-shows of all time

Netflix and chill, right? Or maybe it’s either HBO Now or HBO Go or maybe AMC?

As more and more people are watching TV shows on streaming services or cable TV, as the phenomenon of Game of Thrones urges show runners to ask for bigger budgets than ever before, this begs a question: how expensive are TV Shows nowadays?

Is $15 million dollars per episode for the eight season of GoT a lot?

Let’s find out. Here are the top most expensive TV shows of all time.

The Crown: The first season of Netflix’s royal drama cost a rumored $141 million, which breaks down to $14.1 million for each of its ten episodes.

ER: NBC’s medical drama racked up a $13 million price tag per episode during one stretch in its long run before eventually cutting back on costs.

Friends and The Big Bang Theory: Friends‘ last season cost $10 million per episode because each of the show’s main cast members demanded a $1 million per episode fee. Big Bang now costs the same because that show’s main cast held out for a similar deal.

Sense8 and Rome: Netflix’s series cost $9 million per episode because it was shot all over the world, while HBO’s show cost that much because of its lavish sets and expensive costumes.

Crazy numbers, right?

Well, it gets even better. Or worse.

J.J. Abrams’ pilot for Lost cost somewhere between $10 and $14 million, while Terra Nova‘s two-hour pilot cost a bit more than that. But it’s Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire who cost a whooping $18 million for the pilot episode which takes the crown for the single most expensive hour of TV.


8 thoughts on “The most expensive tv-shows of all time

  1. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does Netflix contribute to the quality of our lives or would the money be best spent elsewhere? Given the internet (and perhaps with hindsight) there was an inevitability fo streaming entertainment. Would you are argue that it is an opiate? That we should better spend our time doing something else?

    • That’s actually a difficult question to answer. What we would be better at would be fighting to survive. Walking 20 miles a day to find food. Climbing mountains, stuff like that.

      We have created a lot of comfort for ourselves, so we need to do something to occupy our time. Addictions come in handy when you are not struggling to survive, I guess. The same way you do not care if you’re basically destroying your lungs by smoking since you don’t have to use your body that much anyway, Netflix is a way of hypnotizing yourself because you don’t need to use your brain that much to get by either.

      • In which case it is certainly better than drink or drugs. But yes, good points. I’m occasionally guilty of bingeing on Netflix in the evenings. I guess the real sin is to watch during the day. Wait until we get true virtual reality – that really will give us pause to think!

      • I think there are certain upsides too. I mean, sometimes a TV show is good enough that it inspires you, sometimes it motivates you to want to create a story that is equally compelling.

        Sometimes it gives us a different perspective on the human condition, or makes us empathize with kinds of people we’d never meet in our day to day lives.

        Like all things we invented, there’s a bit of good mixed in with some bad.

  2. Wow, “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” surprised me. They’re sitcoms so there aren’t that many sets and there aren’t that many actors compared to something like “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead,” it sounds like “Friends” and TBBT’s actors were getting too big for their britches. 😦

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