How much ads for reality shows cost

A report about commercials on broadcast TV reveals how much advertisers are likely to pay for 30-second ads on reality shows that are airing this fall and next spring.

Ad Week reports on the ad prices “using data from as many as six different media-buying agencies and other sources, found that some spots in ‘Idol’ were going for as much as $640,000,” but notes that “prices should be taken as directional indicators, not hard negotiating figures,” and that they can vary, such as for reality series’ finales.

Keeping that in mind, some of these are pretty surprising (Secret Millionaire gets more than The Amazing Race) and interesting (the high prices for Fox’s X Factor were based on predictions of ratings, which TV critics note Fox will likely have to offer “make-goods,” or ads they give to advertisers in because of lower-than-expected ratings).

Here are all the reality series from Ad Age’s chart, which I’ve ranked from most expensive to least expensive:

  • American Idol, $502,900
  • American Idol results, $468,100
  • The X-Factor, $320,669
  • The X-Factor results, $283,034
  • Dancing With the Stars, $233,482
  • Dancing with the Stars results, $216,703
  • The Voice, $206,500
  • The Bachelor, $177,150
  • The Apprentice, $145,500
  • Survivor, $144,478
  • Secret Millionaire, $141,600
  • The Amazing Race, $124,091
  • The Biggest Loser, $106,153
  • The Sing-Off, $81,541
  • Extreme Makeover, $73,039
  • Shark Tank, $67,227
  • America’s Next Top Model, $61,315
  • Kitchen Nightmares, $61,150
  • H8R, $34,743

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.