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October 9, 2015

Which TV Shows Bring In The Most Money?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 4th 2010 6:15PM
network logosIf you had to guess which television shows bring in the most ad revenue, your mind automatically might go to the most popular shows, such as 'American Idol,' 'Dancing with the Stars' and 'Two and a Half Men.' And lo and behold, the obvious is true: The No. 1 ad revenue generator on TV is Fox's 'American Idol,' according to a new list from Forbes.

What other shows made Forbes' list? (Hint: There's nothing there from NBC.) Check out Forbes' top 5 after the jump.
American Idol
1. 'American Idol' (FOX). When 'American Idol' is no longer the number one show -- either in ratings or ad revenue -- it's going to seem really strange, isn't it? I wonder if Simon Cowell's new show 'The X Factor' will get this much attention and money? $8.1 million per 30 minutes.

Two and a Half Men
2. 'Two and a Half Men' (CBS). Charlie Sheen is probably pointing to this article right now and saying "See?!" My guess is that he'll come to some sort of agreement with CBS and we'll all be watching this sitcom until Jake is old enough to put both dad Alan and uncle Charlie in a senior citizens home. $3.1 million per 30 minutes.

3. '24' (FOX). This show won't be on the list next year, because, well, the show won't be on next year. But advertisers still flock to this Monday night action drama. $3 million per 30 minutes.

Grey's Anatomy
4. 'Grey's Anatomy' (ABC). I don't think this show has the "buzz" that it once had. In fact, I know some people who were hardcore fans the first few seasons but have now drifted away from it. Advertisers haven't though, so it comes in at number four.

It's often a top ten show too, so many are still watching. $2.8 million per 30 minutes.

5. 'V' (ABC). This is the only new show in the top five. You're probably asking yourself how a show that gets the ratings that 'V' gets (not very good ratings, that is) can rank so high. As Forbes explains, it's not that the show is getting good ratings, it's that the show was expected to get good ratings, so ad time was bought. $2.3 million per 30 minutes.

'Glee' had the opposite happen. No one knew what the heck was going to happen with that show so it's way, way down on the list (though it's been coming up lately).

If you're curious, the other five in the top 10 are (in order): 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Dancing with the Stars,' 'Lost,' 'Survivor' and 'CSI.' It's not surprising that any of these shows are in the top 10. I am surprised that a few other shows aren't on the list, including '60 Minutes' and 'House,' both long-running hits for their networks. Or CBS's 'The Mentalist,' which is in its second season and has proven itself to be a ratings winner. 'Lost' does better in ad revenue than it does in actual ratings.

No NBC or CW shows are on the list. ABC has half of the top ten and Fox/CBS have the rest.

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So depressing, I knew I would hate the shows on this list. If only my shows could get this kind of success.

May 06 2010 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Lost finale will bring in near-American Idol money per 30 second spot, I've read.

May 04 2010 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

Goddamn it Grey's Anatomy' is one of the worst shows on the air!!

May 04 2010 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So is this top ten only based on ad revenue in its original network run?

The shows that make the big money are those with reruns in syndication, 5-7 days a week, long after the series is no longer in production, especially sitcoms.

I wonder if 50 years from now if Two and a Half Men will have generated more revenue than American Idol, since Idol has only limited rerun appeal.

May 04 2010 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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