Idol, Survivor, and Apprentice are three of the four most expensive shows on TV.

Idol, Survivor, and Apprentice are three of the four most expensive shows on TV.
Here’s the real reason for the proliferation of reality television: Four out of the five spots on the most expensive television show list are held by reality TV shows. Leading the pack is American Idol, which “costs on average $658,333 per 30-second spot, while the Tuesday edition is slightly cheaper at $620,000,” according to Advertising Age. ER follows the two editions of the FOX series, but in fourth place is Survivor Vanuatu, which is charging “$412,833 for a 30-second spot, compared with $390,367 during the 2003-2004 season.” The Apprentice is next, with an average cost of $409,877 for a 30-second ad. Other reality TV series of note: NBC’s forthcoming The Contender charges $330,000 for half a minute, while UPN’s America’s Next Top Model gets $92,045 for the same amount of advertising time. AdAge has a PDF chart of all fall series and their advertising costs.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.