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.

Frankie leads Big Brother's parade of delusion

Frankie on Big Brother

Heading into the finale, the delusion continues, with a re-appearance by evicted Frankie.

Related: The unwatchable cast of Fox's Utopia keeps yelling and screaming.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.