American Idol’s 30-second ads average $745,000

If you have three quarters of a million dollars, that will buy you 30 seconds during American Idol: FOX charges an average of $745,000 per 30-second ad, making it “[t]he most expensive airtime on television, period,” Fortune reports. That’s also about $40,000 more per ad than last year.

The Tuesday night performance show episodes, which are more popular than the results shows, earn about $16.39 million each as a result of those ad prices. On Wednesdays, “airtime is 13% cheaper,” when it costs an average of $645,000, according to Fortune. That results in revenue of $14.19 million.

Compare that to other reality shows: Survivor Cook Islands made $6.66 million per episode from charging $333,000 per ad,
The Amazing Race 10 earned $3.02 million per episode and charged $144,000 for a half of a minute, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition earns $4.58 million by charging $199,000 for an ad, and Dancing with the Stars makes $6.27 million for the performance shows ($179,000 per ad) and $3.94 million for the results shows ($164,000 per ad).

Many of those shows are competitive with popular scripted shows; for example, Grey’s Anatomy earns $6.74 million by charging $281,000 for 30 seconds of air time.

TV’s Biggest Moneymakers [Fortune]

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


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.