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.

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