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State of the Screens

What Is The Most Expensive TV Show Ever Made?

By September 14, 2022September 22nd, 2022No Comments

Four big questions re: the most expensive TV shows ever made:
1) What are the most expensive TV shows ever?
2) Which actors/actresses are paid the most per episode?
3) Why are production/salary costs rising rapidly?
4) How much is each network expected to spend on content in 2022?

Big question #1: What are the most expensive TV shows ever?

Most expensive shows by episode according to Collider:
1) The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power (Amazon – 2022) – $58M
2) Stranger Things (Netflix – 2016) – $30M
3) WandaVision (Disney+ – 2021) – $25M
4) House of Dragon (HBO – 2022) – $20M
5) The Pacific (HBO – 2010) – $20M
6) The Mandalorian (Disney+ – 2019) – $15M
7) See (Apple TV+ – 2019) – $15M
8) Game of Thrones (HBO – 2011) – $15M
9) The Crown (Netflix – 2016) – $13M
10) Halo (Paramount+ – 2022) – $10M

Big question #2: Which actors/actresses are paid the most per episode?

Highest paid actors/actresses by episode according to Variety:
1) Kevin Costner (Yellowstone – Paramount Network) – $1.3M
2) Mahershala Ali (The Pilot – Onyx Collective) – $1.3M
3) Elisabeth Moss (Shining Girls – Apple TV+) – $1.1M
4) Michael Keaton (Dopesick – Hulu) – $1.0M
5) Harrison Ford (1923 – Paramount+) – $1.0M
6) Helen Mirren (1923 – Paramount+) – $1.0M
7) Will Ferrell (The Shrink Next Door – Apple TV+) – $1.0M
8) Paul Rudd (The Shrink Next Door – Apple TV+) – $1.0M
9) Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso – Apple TV+) – $1.0M
10) Sylvester Stallone (Tulsa King – Paramount+) – $1.0M

Big question #3: Why are production/salary costs rising rapidly?

Quick answer: Demand > Supply.  As a result, there are more buyers (streaming services, broadcast/cable networks, etc.) than ever before.

Original scripted shows by year (YoY growth) according to FX:
1) 2012 – 288 (↑ 8%)
2) 2013 – 349 (↑ 21%)
3) 2014 – 389 (↑ 11%)
4) 2015 – 422 (↑ 8%)
5) 2016 – 455 (↑ 8%)
6) 2017 – 487 (↑ 7%)
7) 2018 – 495 (↑ 2%)
8) 2019 – 532 (↑ 7%)
9) 2020 – 493 (↓ 7%)
10) 2021 – 559 (↑ 13%)

Quick math on change in attention for scripted shows between 2012-21:
1) Scripted shows – 288 → 559 (↑ 94%)
2) TV households – 115M →121M (↑ 5%)
3) Average daily time with video – 5h 13m → 5h 39m (↑ 8%)
4) Total time with video – ↑ 14%

Big question #4: How much is each network expected to spend on content in 2022?

Estimated U.S. content spend by network (YoY growth) in 2022 according to Wells Fargo:

1) Disney – $33B (↑ 8%)
2) Comcast – $26B (↑ 2%)
3) Warner Bros. Discovery – $22B (↑ 8%)
4) Netflix – $19B (↑ 13%)
5) ViacomCBS – $16B (↑ 7%)
6) Amazon – $13B (↑ 24%)
7) Apple – $8B (↑ 35%)
8) Lionsgate – $2B (↑ 5%)
9) AMC Networks – $800M (↑ 4%)
10) Total – $140B ( 10%)

13B.3-2022A-1

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.