How do you judge a successful show? Series like Friday Night Lights, Veronica
Mars and Breaking Bad may have received all the acclaim, but the bottom
line is that, their cult following aside, none of those shows actually turned a huge
profit for the production companies. It is still the bottom line that matters and these
are the series that have done it. Here are the 10 most profitable TV shows based on their
advertising revenues for every half hour on television.
10. Modern Family – $2.13 million
ABC’s Modern Family is a comedy series that debuted in 2009. It features three
related families and the everyday trials that they face. It has proven to be both
commercially and critically successful. It has won Emmy Awards for Outstanding
Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The show stars Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara,
Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, among others.
9. Mad Love – $2.59 million
CBS’s Mad Love was a television series that ran for only one season in 2011. It
was a replacement show that debuted in the middle of the season. The show was
about two couples and how they fall in love but in drastically different ways. It starred
Jason Biggs, Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer and Tyler Labine. The show benefitted
tremendously from its timeslot in between the hugely popular shows How I Met Your
Mother and Two and a Half Men.
8. Desperate Housewives – $2.61 million
ABC’s Desperate Housewives was a drama-comedy and mystery series that
aired from 2004 to 2012. It was about the lives of several women who lived in a
seemingly perfect neighborhood. Underneath the idyllic setting, however, were
struggles, crimes, secrets and mysteries behind the doors of their homes. The
show won several recognitions from the Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and Screen
Actors Guild. At its peak in 2007, it was considered as the most popular show in its
demographic in the entire world with a viewership of more than 120 million people.
7. Dancing with the Stars – $2.72 million
ABC’s Dancing with the Stars is a dance competition show that has been on air
since 2005, with 17 seasons already under its belt. It is the U.S. version of the British
series called Strictly Come Dancing. It features several celebrities and famous
people being paired with professional dancers, with one couple getting eliminated
each week. The couples are given scores based on the points given by judges and
the votes by the audience and viewers.
6. The Big Bang Theory – $2.75 million
CBS’s The Big Bang Theory is a comedy series that debuted in 2007. It
features the lives of four nerds whose geeky behavior and social awkwardness are complemented by the skills and common sense of a pretty waitress. CBS has already signed the show until 2014. The series stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco. It also features Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar.
5. Grey’s Anatomy – $2.75 million
ABC’s Grey Anatomy is a medical drama that debuted in 2005 as a replacement
in the middle of the season. It is about the lives of several surgical interns and
residents as they train to become experienced doctors. It stars Ellen Pompeo,
Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane and Chandra Wilson. The
show has been considered a cultural phenomenon, with some observers comparing
its impact to the popular 90’s sitcom called Friends. It popularized the use of the
Mc-prefix as a result of a couple of its character’s nicknames, namely McDreamy
and McSteamy. It is the highest earning drama show because of its standing as the
top-ranked show in the key 18-49 years old demographic.
4. Glee – $2.8 million
Fox’s Glee is a musical comedy-drama series that debuted in 2009. It features
members of the New Directions, the glee club of William McKinley High School.
Other students ostracize the club’s members and the show focuses on how they
deal with relationships, social issues and even their burgeoning sexualities. It stars
Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Mark
Salling and several others. It twice won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television
Series – Musical or Comedy. Lynch and Colfer have also been given Golden Globes
for their supporting performances.
3. Two and a Half Men – $3.24 million
CBS’s Two and a Half Men is a sitcom that first broadcasted in 2003. It was
originally about a hedonistic song writer who lives in a house in front of the beach in
Malibu. He shared his house with his uptight brother and the latter’s son. Charlie
Sheen played the writer, but after a meltdown during the eighth season, Sheen was
fired and his character was killed off. Ashton Kutcher came in as a millionaire who
purchased the house. The show also stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, though
Jones was demoted to recurring status in season 11. The New York Times considers
it as the biggest comedy show of the past decade.
2. The X Factor – $5.5 million
Fox’s The X Factor is a reality singing competition based on the British show of
the same title. It features aspiring singers, whether solo or in a group, who are at
least 12 years old battling it out for a $5 million-dollar recording contract with Syco,
the record label of Simon Cowell. The contestants are drawn from public auditions,
with the survivors getting advice from the judges on choosing songs, styling and
performing on stage. Telephone, Internet and text voting determine the winners.
1. American Idol – $6.64 million
Fox’s American Idol is a reality singing competition based on the British show
called Pop Idol. It is considered as one of the most successful shows in television
history. It debuted in 2003 and the show has consistently ranked number one in
U.S. ratings. The show focuses on solo artists, with the winner being determined by
telephone, Internet and text voting. It has launched the careers of music artists like
Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry.
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