Around this time every year, Advertising Age posts a juicy charticle of commercial ad rates that may be the bane of the broadcast networks, but is an excellent bellwether of what new (and old) shows are resonating with Madison Avenue. This year’s report certainly doesn’t disappoint: of all the new shows out this fall, ABC’s FlashForward looks to be commanding the richest, per-30-second rate ($175,724, to be exact) while Fox’s animated The Cleveland Show ($158,701) is the most expensive new comedy for advertisers. But cry not for the block of promising new laughers on ABC Wednesdays: the network’s Modern Family has managed to snag more than $130,388 per 30-second spot, the report says, while Cougar Town is scratching up a respectable $103,314 (CBS’ Two and A Half Men is the most expensive sitcom in prime time at $226,635). Most surprising development this season? How much the still-growing No. 1 drama NCIS generates in ad time ($133,304) versus the No. 5 ranked Grey’s Anatomy ($240,462). We know, we know – the demographics are very different on each drama but there’s no arguing that Michael Weatherly is just as easy on the eyes as Patrick Dempsey.
Perhaps the most startling revelation to come out of this year’s ad roundup is what NBC is charging for ads during The Jay Leno Show. As one of the cheapest new shows of the season, the hour-long chatfest generates anywhere from $48,803 per on a Friday to $62,012 on Wednesday nights – certainly not the kind of fees that NBC was commanding when it ran scripted dramas in the time slot last season. Even the poorly-performing Heroes ($108,675) drums up better business for NBC, as does The Biggest Loser ($128,295) and, of course, Sunday Night Football ($339,700).