The cost to run a TV commercial during a top-rated network television show is now well into the six figures, and for the two most expensive TV shows, it costs over half a million dollars for just 30 seconds of airtime. The top 10 costliest television shows currently include a hospital drama that’s been on the air for 12 years, a singing competition show and — not surprisingly — lots of football.
To determine which shows cost the most, GOBankingRates analyzed Ad Age’s annual TV ad pricing chart for the 2016-2017 television season. The chart compared ad prices for prime time shows on the five major networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW.
Read on to find out which 10 TV shows are the most expensive.
10. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
ABC’s Thursday night medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” rounds out the top 10 most expensive shows to advertise during, with a 30-second commercial spot on the 8 p.m. show costing an average of $193,210. Though “Grey’s” has been airing consistently since 2005, this is the first time since 2010 the show has been in the top 10 for commercial pricing, Ad Age reports. Its cost to advertise has increased 23 percent since last year, likely due to its boost in ratings: it was ABC’s No. 1 show last year. It was also the No. 2 series — behind “Empire” — among women 18 to 34. However, the cost to advertise on “Grey’s Anatomy” during the 2016 to 2017 season is a fraction of what it cost during its 2007 to 2008 season, when it was the most expensive show on TV: A 30-second spot during that season cost over $400,000.
9. ‘The Voice’ (Tuesday)
A 30-second advertising slot on NBC’s Tuesday night episode of “The Voice” costs an average of $202,600, giving it one of five places on the top 10 commercial pricing chart held by an NBC show. The singing competition show — and its line of wealthy judges — has been airing since 2011, and is the only reality show to place in the top 10. It’s by far the most expensive show airing during the Tuesday at 8 p.m. timeslot, with the second costliest show, “NCIS,” costing about $50,000 less per ad placement.
8. ‘The Voice’ (Monday)
It’s no wonder NBC airs “The Voice” twice a week, as the network earns top advertising dollars for both showings. The 8 p.m. Monday night episodes boast 30-second advertising slots worth an average of $214,079, which is actually 11 percent less than what it cost the previous year. Despite a year-over-year drop in advertising costs, “The Voice” is now the most expensive show in its time slot, ever since “The Big Bang Theory” moved from Monday to Thursday night.
7. ‘Modern Family’
“Modern Family” is ABC’s biggest money-maker, with the Wednesday night comedy charging an average of $224,571 per 30-second commercial slot. The series has been airing for eight years and earned the network 22 Emmy awards. “Modern Family” is the second-highest-rated comedy on TV, behind “The Big Bang Theory,” and draws in 7 million viewers each week, according to Nielsen as reported by Variety.
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6. ‘This Is Us’
A 30-second commercial spot during NBC’s comedy/drama “This Is Us” costs an average of $272,000, by far the most of any show in the Tuesday at 9 p.m. timeslot. The second-most-expensive show airing at that time, CBS’s “Bull,” costs an average of $136,102 per 30-second spot. “This Is Us” is only in its second season, but it’s been a winner with audiences: Its season two premiere attracted 12.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen as reported by Variety. It finished last season as the No. 1 broadcast drama, Deadline reported.
5. ‘The Big Bang Theory’
“The Big Bang Theory” has been running for 10 years on CBS, helping to make the network the most-watched for the 2016-2017 TV season, according to Deadline. The continued success of the show has also made its stars wealthy as their paychecks have grown. The comedy finished last season as the No. 1 comedy and No. 1 scripted broadcast program in total viewers, which explains why a 30-second commercial spot is so pricey, costing an average of $289,136. “The Big Bang Theory” is the most expensive scripted show airing during the Thursday at 8 p.m. timeslot, but is significantly less pricey than Thursday night NFL games.
“Empire” takes the crown for the most expensive scripted show on television, with a 30-second commercial slot costing an average of $437,100. The hip-hop drama is currently in its fourth season, and is the only Fox show to crack the top 10 commercial pricing chart. It beats out “Modern Family” as the most expensive show airing in the Wednesday at 8 p.m. time slot. During the 2016 to 2017 television season, “Empire” was the No. 8 top-rated series among viewers 18 to 49, Deadline reported.
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3. ‘Thursday Night Football’ (NBC)
“Thursday Night Football” on NBC takes the No. 3 slot on the top 10 commercial pricing chart, with a 30-second ad costing an average of $485,695. The sports program was the No. 2 top-rated series among viewers 18 to 49 during the 2016-2017 TV season, Deadline reported, and it’s the second-most-expensive show airing in the Thursday at 8 p.m. timeslot.
2. ‘NFL Thursday Night Football’ (CBS)
CBS’s “NFL Thursday Night Football” beats out NBC’s football programming for most expensive show airing in the Thursday at 8 p.m. time slot, with a 30-second commercial costing an average of $522,910. The cost to advertise rose 13 percent between seasons, the second-highest increase of any show in the top 10. It is also the most expensive show across CBS.
1. ‘Sunday Night Football’
NBC takes the top spot with “Sunday Night Football,” which has the most expensive commercials, costing an average of $673,664 for a 30-second spot. It dominates in the Sunday at 8 p.m. timeslot — the second-most-expensive show airing at that time is Fox’s “The Simpsons,” which has an average commercial cost of $161,633. “Sunday Night Football” was the No. 1 rated show for the 2016-2017 season, Deadline reported. Its advertising price increased 12 percent from the previous season.
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Data is based on Ad Age’s annual TV ad pricing chart for the 2016-2017 television season. Ad Age compiled the data from surveys of as many as six media buying agencies. The numbers are estimates rather than actual prices for a 30-second spot. The prices reflect estimates advertisers agreed upon during the upfront market, and may have changed closer to the air date.