Television shows can now compare to movies when it comes to the size of production. Read on below to learn more about the most expensive television series ever made. The are ordered relative to the price it cost per episode.
10 Sea Patrol – $1 million
The Australian drama aired from 2007 – 2011, revolving around the lives of the crew onboard the Royal Australian Navy. The various episodes dealt with serious crimes under the Australian law, which the crew encountered while on patrol on the Royal Australian Navy ship. A season would normally open with a large event in the first episode, which is expanded or investigated throughout the season, although the show didn’t follow this format for the fourth season.
9 Father of the Pride – $1.6 million
Father of the Pride was cancelled just after 14 episodes, and with a cost of $1.6 million per episode to produce, it was recognized as one of the most expensive television failures of all time. The American animated show was about a family of white lions, whose head was a star member of the Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas. The show utilized the voice talent of famous actors which included John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, Carl Reiner, Orlando Jones, Danielle Harris, Daryl Sabara, David Herman, and Julian Holloway.
8 ER – $2 million
The medical drama ER aired from 1994 to 2009, and was set in a fictional hospital located in Chicago. Spanning 15 seasons and 331 episodes, ER is one of the longest running medical dramas on television. The show followed the various dramas and serious issues faced by the emergency room’s doctors and physicians, and each episode usually was centered on the ER and in the hospital although most seasons featured episodes that were shot completely out of Chicago. Apart from showing the issues that each cast member faced, the show also brought social awareness to critical social issues such as HIV, AIDS, gay rights, and human trafficking.
7 X Factor USA – $3.5 million
Certainly one of the priciest reality television shows in the world, X Factor USA was created by Simon Cowell, designed to help them find the new singers whether solo or group artists. Applicants aged 12 and up from across the country applied to audition on the show, and winners were decided based on the votes that came in from the public through SMS, internet, and telephone voting. Alongside Simon Cowell, the show also made use of celebrity judges, who acted as mentors to each singer on the show. The lineup of judges included Britney Spears, Paula Abdul, LA Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, and Demi Lovato.
6 Terra Nova – $3.9 million
The science-fiction drama show Terra Nova told the story of the Shannon family as they time traveled into the past, 85 million years ago during the time of the dinosaurs. During the year CE 2149, a time when the earth was facing critical issues, including overpopulation and air quality, which were threatening the very survival of man. The show was shot in various locations in Australia, including Queensland, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. During the shooting of the pilot show, production had to be redone due to heavy rains, which contributed to additional production costs.
5 Lost – $4 million
Critically-acclaimed drama and sci-fi television series Lost comprised of six seasons, set on a tropical island in the South Pacific. The cast is made up of survivors of a plane crash from a jet flying from Sydney to Los Angeles who are forced to live with each other, with elements of supernatural phenomena and science-fiction intertwined into the show. Lost is one of the most expensive television series produced, mostly because it was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii, as well as the fact that it had a large cast, starting out with 70 adults and one dog.
4 Deadwood – $4.5 million
Deadwood, the American western drama, was shot in Melody Ranch, a film studio located in Los Angeles. The show spanned just three seasons, with 12 episodes each. The period show was set in the 1870’s in Deadwood, which is in the Dakota Territory, where audiences can observe the town’s growth and development into western capitalism. Deadwood combines fictional aspects with history, even making use of actual newspapers and diaries written by real residents of the town from the 1870’s.
3 Game of Thrones – $6 million
The fantasy and action television series Game of Thrones is currently being showed in 75 countries around the world, with over 275 actors per season, and also having an average of 14 characters die off per episode. The Game of Thrones pilot episode alone also cost between $5 and $10 million, and the entire first season costing around $60 million. Game of Thrones is based on a fantasy trilogy written by George R.R. Martin, and is shot in international locations including Ireland, Malta, Croatia, and Morocco.
2 Rome – $ 9 million
HBO’s Rome takes the cake when it comes to the most expensive television series ever. The historical drama utilized massive amounts of elaborate costumes, and very detailed set designs to tell the tale of Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo as well as their acquaintances and the stories around them and their families. The first season tells the story of the rise of Julius Caesar in 49 BC, and covers his fall, while showing the rise of Octavian in his early years.
1 Friends – $10 million
It’s a known fact that the longer a show runs on air, the more expensive it gets to produce. In the case of Friends, the final season came out costing $10 million per episode, a historical number paid for any thirty-minute show in the history of television. The show ran from 1994 to 2004, following the lives of 6 close friends living in New York City as they traversed through different issues in love, life, and their career. More than 50 million American viewers tuned in to the final episode, which contributed to it being the most watched episode within the past decade.