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 11 of the most expensive TV shows ever produced.
1. ER — $13 million/episode
Though ER may not have started out pricey, the medical drama quickly became a huge hit for NBC and a launching pad for star George Clooney. After the show earned record-breaking ratings in 1996 and 1997, the network was eager to keep Clooney on board and to maintain viewership high. To that end, it agreed to pay Warner Bros. a huge budget of $13 million per episode. The decision — which TV insiders refer to as ” the half-a-billion-dollar blunder” — cost the network a whopping $440 million in just two years and failed to result in higher ratings. Meanwhile, Clooney still ended up leaving the show in 1999.
Luckily for NBC, the series was able to rebound with a lower budget and went on to air for several more seasons, with the 15th and final one concluding in 2009.