Most Expensive TV Series of All Time: TV series are the new cinema. The pay-TV broadcaster HBO recognized and promoted this development early on with lavishly produced series such as “Game of Thrones”. However, this trend has only caught on since streaming providers such as Netflix , Amazon and Hulu started competing with traditional TV channels as producers of their own series. This also leads to increasing TV series budgets. But high budgets do not guarantee success:
Most Expensive TV Series of All Time
Among the most expensive TV series (measured by the average cost per episode) there are unexpected surprises as well as a few flops.
10. Westworld ( HBO ):
- Budget: $10 Million Per Episode
With “Westworld”, HBO hopes to have delivered a worthy successor to the expiring hit series “Game of Thrones” in 2016. The cost of producing the film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s book is $ 100 million for 10 episodes. The adventurous mix of westerns and science fiction also got off to a good start. But it remains to be seen whether the bill for HBO will work out in the long term.
10. Band of Brothers ( HBO ):
- Budget: $12.5 Million Per Episode
The HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers – We Were Like Brothers” follows the soldiers of the American Easy Company in Europe after the Allies landed in Normandy in ten episodes . Here you can see (unlike “Friends”) where the total budget of $ 125 million has gone. The 2001 series’ story was completed in ten episodes.
9. Emergency Room ( NBC ):
- Budget: $13 Million Per Episode
The hospital series “Emergency Room” was a long-runner that ran from 1994 to 2009. In the US , ER was the most watched TV series in the 1990s. As a result, the US broadcaster NBC raked in $ 286 million for the production of 22 episodes in 1998, or $ 13 million per episode. A large part made up of the fees of the numerous actors.
8. The Crown ( Netflix ):
- Budget: $13 Million Per Episode
The ten-part series about the life of the British Queen Elizabeth II after her wedding in 1947 is certainly not a mass phenomenon like “Game of Thrones”. But “The Crown” won two Golden Globes and an Emmy in 2017 and was well received by the audience. The second season starts on December 8, 2017, the third on November 17, 2019 and the last so far on November 15, 2020. The budget of $ 130 million for the ten episodes of the first season should have paid off for Netflix in the end.
6. The Morning Show (Apple TV +):
- Budget: $15M Per Episode
Another sinfully expensive series from Apple: As I said, the technology giant was in a spending mood in 2019 when it came to the production of top-class TV series for the launch of Apple TV +. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon each received $ 2 million per episode, and Steve Carel wasn’t exactly cheap either. This means that a third of the production costs per episode go to the three stars of the series alone. After all, “The Morning Show” convinced at the Golden Globe Awards 2020, where the series itself was nominated in the “Best Drama Series” category and Aniston and Witherspoon were nominated as best actresses. A second season is already being planned.
5. The Mandalorian (Disney +):
- Budget: $15M Per Episode
The “Star Wars” series by producer Jon Favreau has developed into a Disney + series hit within a very short time. The Disney group spared no expense or effort to launch its own streaming platform, but the success of “The Mandalorian” came as a surprise. The success of the silent Mandalorian and his protege, who became famous as Baby Yoda, led to a second season in no time at all, which “Star Wars” fans – in contrast to the sequel trilogy in the cinema – unanimously praised as successful. As a result, Disney announced plans for numerous new “Star Wars” series on Disney +.
4. Game of Thrones ( HBO ):
Budget: $15 Million Per Episode
With “Game of Thrones” you can see where the costs arise: elaborate equipment, detailed costumes, exotic locations. However, the costs were significantly lower in the first season, namely at five to six million dollars per episode. As the medieval fantasy series became a television phenomenon, HBO became more and more generous. In the eighth season, the cost of an episode averaged around $ 15 million.
3. The Get Down ( Netflix ):
- Budget: $16 Million Per Episode
For Netflix , it was clear from the beginning that the production of hip-hop’s “The Get Down” would be costly. Originally $ 120 million was budgeted for twelve episodes. But with the exclusive rights to the music and the like, the cost ultimately exploded to around $ 200 million, or $ 16 million per episode. To make matters worse, there was also the moderate success with the audience. The end of the massively advertised “The Get Down” came after the first season.
2. WandaVision (Disney +):
- Budget: $16.67 Million Per Episode
With the first real film series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) under the aegis of Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige, Disney almost delivered the most expensive series of all time – measured in terms of the production costs per episode. The production budget for “WandaVision” was $ 150 million for a season. Media reports have therefore always assumed costs of $ 25 million per episode. However, the planned six ended up being nine episodes. We could not clearly determine whether increasing the number of episodes increased the total budget to $ 225 million or the cost per episode to $ 16.67 million. have decreased. But we tend to make the latter assumption.
“WandaVision” would therefore only be the second most expensive series of all time. But it’s not all evening for the Disney record: “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is the next Marvel series, which also has a budget of $ 150 million, in March 2021. So far, only six episodes are planned, so a whopping $ 25 million per episode.
1. The Pacific ( HBO ):
- Budget: $21.7 Million Per Episode
With “The Pacific”, HBO followed up on the success of the series “Band of Brothers” in 2010. The ten-part miniseries had the same concept: This time it follows the plot of a small group of US soldiers in the Pacific Island War in World War II. With a budget of $ 217 million for ten episodes (in 2010!), “The Pacific” is by far the most expensive TV series of all time Nominated times and received eight awards, including in the “Best Miniseries” category.