30-second American Idol 7 ads selling for more than $1 million

Advertisers are paying more than $1 million for 30 seconds of time on American Idol 7, which debuts tomorrow night.

The network “initially sold commercials in this year’s ‘Idol’ for as much as $750,000 per 30-second spot. As the writer’s strike has dragged on, advertisers have been shelling out $1 million or more for a single commercial that would run as the show’s grand finale draws closer, according to people familiar with the situation,” The Los Angeles Times reports. “No other series on television commands such premiums. Commercial spots in original episodes of other highly rated shows, including CBS’ ‘Survivor’ and ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ sell for $250,000 to $450,000.”

The sixth season “collected $810 million in revenue, up 39% from 2006. Some analysts estimate the show’s ad revenue could soar 20% this year,” the paper reports, citing numbers from TNS Media Intelligence.

Speaking of advertising, three familiar brands will return to the show, as Ford, Coca-Cola, and AT&T have again signed as the show’s sponsors. Ford “will award an Escape Hybrid to this year’s two ‘Idol’ finalists,” Variety reports. Presumably, they’ll also continue to pitch their cars with those awful music videos that teach the show’s finalists how to be good little unpaid pitchpeople.

Ad buyers hooked on ‘Idol’ too [Los Angeles Times]
Sponsors return to ‘American Idol’ [Variety]
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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, 37, 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.