How much a 30-second ad costs for reality shows, from Idol ($467K) to Apprentice ($99K)

Despite having a new judging panel and losing its real star, American Idol is still the most expensive prime-time network reality TV show this year, followed by Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelor, and Survivor, according to AdAge.

Despite the singing competition’s number-one position, there’s been a decline in its value: while it was able to pull in $700,000 to over $1 million in season seven for a 30-second ad, that’s now down to well under $500,000. Other shows have declined, too; compare the numbers below to the end of the 2009 season.

AdAge compiled the average prices for 30-second ads, although it notes that these are “directional indicators, not the price that every advertiser pays for a 30-second spot. The estimates are based on what advertisers paid for ad time during this year’s upfront market, during which marketers commit to advertising months or weeks in advance, in exchange for locking down price guarantees.”

I filtered out and arranged the reality shows in order of most expensive to least expensive:

  1. American Idol, Fox, $467,617
  2. American Idol results, Fox, $400,546
  3. Dancing With the Stars, ABC, $204,806
  4. Dancing with the Stars results, ABC, $167,821
  5. The Bachelor, ABC, $165,857
  6. Survivor, CBS, $153,636
  7. The Biggest Loser, NBC, $134,374
  8. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC, $126,958
  9. Hell’s Kitchen, Fox, $121,944
  10. The Amazing Race, CBS, $114,584
  11. The Apprentice, NBC, $99,074
  12. Kitchen Nightmares, Fox, $72,562
  13. America’s Next Top Model, The CW, $63,285
  14. Secret Millionaire, ABC, $60,081
  15. School Pride, NBC, $59,521
  16. Who Do You Think You Are, NBC, $47,820
Simon Who? ‘Idol’ Spots Still Priciest in Prime Time [Advertising Age]

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.