Top 10 Most Profitable Television Shows

April 12, 2012 By:
Top 10 Most Profitable Television Shows

The people over at Forbes, who make a living by counting cash, have just put together a list of the top 10 most profitable shows on television. They measure “most profitable” as the shows that bring in the most ad revenue per half hour.

Some of these shows are a no-brainer, like American Idol, but others that made the list are surprising. Like “Mad Love,” apparently that was a show? On actual TV? In America?

The most profitable show is “American Idol.” It’s revenue for 2011 was down 6% from the previous year, but it still brings in $6.64 million per half hour.

The next profitable show was Idol’s competitor “The X Factor.” Even though the show didn’t get nearly the 20 million viewers that Simon predicted, the show still brought in $5.55 million in ad revenue per show. However, that revenue was so high because of all the pre-show hype, and since it didn’t live up to the hype…expect 2012 revenue to drop down a lot.

Two and a Half Men”? More like $3 and a half million! That’s what this show brings in per episode. That makes sense since Charlie Sheen used to make nearly $2 million per episode.

“American Idol” is Fox’s main cash cow, but they’ve got their other singing empire, “Glee.” The show is still going strong and bringing in $2.83 million per episode.

I forgot Grey’s Anatomy was still on TV, but it brings in $2.75 million each episode.

Apparently people like watching celebrities fail at dancing, because Dancing With The Stars makes $2.75 million per episode for the network, combined with the fact that they air two episodes per week, it’s a total money maker.

Desperate Housewives is coming to an end, but makes $2.61 million for ABC. They are going to have a hard time replacing it next year. Time to develop a singing competition show!

The creator of “Two and a Half Men” also does well with his other show, “The Big Bang Theory.” That show brings in $2.57 each week.

“Mad Love” made the list at #9. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it, because the show was cancelled last May. The show brought in $2.59 per half hour because it was sandwiched between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men,” aka the ultimate time slot.

“Modern Family” rounds out the Top 10 with $2.13 per episode, as one of America’s most beloved and most recorded shows on television.

TV’s 10 Most Profitable Shows.

10. “Modern Family” ($2.13 million per half hour)

9. “Mad Love” ($2.59 million per half hour)

8. “Big Bang Theory” ($2.75 million per half hour)

7. “Desperate Housewives” ($2.61 million per half hour)

6. “Dancing with the Stars” ($2.72 million per half hour)

5. “Grey’s Anatomy” ($2.75 million per half hour)

4. “Glee” ($2.8 million per half hour)

3. “Two and a Half Men” ($3.24 million per half hour)

2. “The X-Factor” ($5.5 million per half hour)

1. “American Idol” ($6.64 million per half hour)