It isn’t easy or cheap to successfully pull off a hit show. In fact, some of the most popular TV shows ever produced also happen to be some of the most expensive. Networks continue to pull out all the stops, spending millions on popular cast members, elaborate sets, and stunning locations. Ready to see which of your beloved shows made the cut? Here are seven of the most expensive shows ever produced.
1. Friends – $10 million
Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross helped Friends achieve 10 years of TV success. Running from 1994 to 2004, many of the scenes were set in a coffee shop and the characters’ apartments. So what exactly made this popular TV show so expensive? The cast.
As viewers tuned in year after year, many grew fond of the six friends and the amazing chemistry they had together. FinancesOnline.com writes that as the cast became increasingly popular, the actors started to ask for more money. During the third season, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer rallied together to ensure they received fair pay. By the time the final season rolled around, the cast members were each making $1 million per episode, causing the show’s budget to skyrocket to $10 million per episode.
2. Rome — $9 million
HBO really outdid itself with Rome. The historical drama, which ran from 2005 to 2007, told the story of the lives of both illustrious and ordinary Romans. To depict an accurate and engaging picture of what it took for one to survive in Roman times, HBO used elaborate costumes and very detailed set designs, resulting in a $9 million per episode budget, according to The Richest. While the outrageous budget allowed HBO to add in exquisite scenery and details, it was also the show’s downfall.
Entertainment Weekly writes that HBO executives decided to ax the well-received show in order to save money on maintaining production resources in Italy. “Just like many of the other shows in the same class, it’s a show that ended early rather than got strung out and had the juice squeezed out of it,” show creator Bruno Heller tells Entertainment Weekly. “It ended for reasons other than running out of things to say. I loved it. I thought it was a great show. There’s a sense that there’s unfinished business.”