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The 7 Most Expensive TV Shows Ever Made

We are in a golden age of television where pay-to-watch streaming services have revolutionized TV watching, and we have seen greater storytelling flood toward the small screen due to higher financing and the propensity to binge on a box set.

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As such, TV shows have seen greater production values and have become increasingly more expensive to make to the standards that viewers expect. Here we look at the most expensive ever made.


7. Sense 8

Written by the Wachowskis of The Matrix fame, the Netflix original show is a sci-fi program that follows eight complete strangers who suddenly find themselves all emotionally linked. 

netflixlife.com

With high-tech, futuristic themes and special effects, it costs about $9m per episode to make and has been going since 2015, with it still in production.


6. Rome

Another HBO Original, this fictionalization of the inner workings of the Roman empire was costly due to the research costume and staging of an ancient historical setting. 

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Costing around $10m per episode, it had reasonable ratings but not enough to warrant such a high bill and so was canceled after just 2 seasons despite being critically acclaimed.


5. Game of Thrones

The immensely popular fantasy series comes in at the same cost as Rome at $10m per episode. However, due to much higher viewing figures, it has had a much longer tenure having had 6 seasons already.

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Its 7th season will be its last although it is expected to see many spin-offs from that.


4. Friends

Despite coming to an end nearly over a decade ago, Friends remains one of the costliest TV shows around not because of production values (it mostly took place in one of two settings) but because of its global popularity making its actors huge stars.

look.co.uk

As such, they unionized and demanded huge sums for their part in the show and ended up making $1m each from the show, which meant it ran costs of just over $10m per show.


3. ER

The long-running hospital drama ended up being unable to compete with newer pretenders to its throne, but it made stars of  George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, and Sherry Stringfield who all would have contributed to its immense cost.

hollywoodreporter.com

Staging and research of a hospital drama is not cheap either, and so it reached around $13m per episode, but it still lasted around 15 years.


2. The Get Down 

A new Netflix show that has only had one season and is pioneered by world-renowned film director Baz Luhrmann. Set in the 1970s, it is a musical show that follows a group of dancers, and so the grand set pieces, dancing and singing numbers are all very costly.

boingboing.net

They still shouldn't have cost $120m overall, but that's what the first season came to with its 6 episodes, so it currently comes in at $20m per episode!


1. The Crown

Another Netflix show, the most expensive in television history as it stand's is The Crown which is a fictional telling of the early life of the current Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth The Second. As such, the recreation of the lavish sets, the use of researchers to get everything as accurate as possible and the hiring of recognizable stars sky-rocketed the price.

timothyeverest.co.uk

Just one season in and it has cost Netflix $130m, it was very popular, but with 10 episodes, the streaming service got more content for its money than with others on this list.

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