‘Glee’ Had a Massive Per Episode Budget Of Up to $3.8 Million

TV shows aren’t easy to make. The work that goes into bringing some details to life can make production a bit costly. However, some shows go the extra mile to make sure their viewers get the best of everything resulting in massive budgets.

Glee might not have aged well in the last few years, but it was one of the most beloved shows during its run. The show produced some notable actors and gave fans covers to sing along to. Between all the costume changes, the cast salaries, and music recordings, Fox spared no expense in creating the popular musical show.

'Glee' cast members singing on a stage full of bubbles
(L-R) Will (Matthew Morrison), guest stars Quinn (Dianna Agron), Mike (Harry Shum Jr). and Blaine (Darren Criss) on Glee | Tyler Golden/Getty Images

Glee debuted in 2009

Glee centers on a high school music club known as the Glee club. The show is set in the fictional William McKinney High School in Ohio. The Glee club got its revival when teacher Will Schuster took over from Sandy Ryerson. Sandy was fired for inappropriate contact with one of his students.

The show choir consisted of misfit teenagers as Will tries to restore the disgraced club to its former glory while paying attention to his growing feelings for the guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury. The show features the conniving, antagonistic Sue Sylvester, who has it out for Will, and the Glee club members.

Sue sends her three top cheerleaders to audition for the Glee club so that she can spy on the club while working to bring it down. However, the three girls end up loving their experience in the show choir and even drop out of cheerleading.

The central storyline on the show is the students of the club, their relationships, love for music, and desire to be popular. Most club members are popular students who are conflicted about losing their popularity because of their association with the low-status Glee club.

Season 1 was the show’s best-rated season

Creating and pitching a show centered about outcast teenagers with musical episodes back to back wasn’t a common occurrence back when Glee debuted. Finding original musicals is tricky, and such shows are never based around musicals, so the show’s creator Ryan Murphy knew he had a hit on his hands with Glee.

Glee ran for an impressive six seasons and managed to attract a loyal following throughout its run. The show wasn’t just a hit with audiences. It also received award nominations and won some as well. Throughout its entirety, Glee earned nominations for Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammy awards. The songs featured on the show also topped charts and were made available to anyone who wanted to listen to them outside of the show.

Rotten Tomatoes ranked season 1 as the show’s best season with a remarkable 86% score. Understandably so, the first season carried its own and provided viewers with enough nostalgia to last a decade. The first season featured groundbreaking performances from Amber Riley’s character Mercedes singing ‘Bust Your Windows’ by Jazmine Sullivan. It also had a Madonna episode where the group paid tribute to the legendary singer.

‘Glee’ had a shocking per-episode budget

Without a doubt, every episode on Glee was breathtaking. From the accurate costumes to the synchronized harmonies and vocal deliveries. Before long, Glee had become a rating juggernaut for Fox, and the network was aware. Due to the show’s rating supremacy, Fox decided to increase Glee‘s budget to accommodate its popularity and detail.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the show had a per-episode budget of anywhere from $3.2 million to $3.8 million. The large sum of money was reasonable for the highly-rated show since it covered the rights to perform the various numbers, record and distribute the covers they did. It also covered the cost of cast salaries since the actors had become household names and received high salaries to accompany their high status.

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