Advertising Age has just released its annual survey of the average cost of an advertisement on broadcast TV shows, and the results are fascinating brain candy for the TV fetishist. Fox dominates the ad dollars with five of the six most expensive shows on TV. The upcoming Simon Cowell-free season of American Idol ranks at No. 1 with an average of $467,617 for a 30-second spot. While slots 3-6 are taken up by Glee, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and House.

The list makes for interesting reading: check out the complete top ten after the jump. It’s especially fascinating to see the relative old age of all the most expensive shows: Setting aside Glee, the four youngest shows in the top ten are House, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives, which are all in their seventh seasons. (On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Simpsons is approximately a billion years old.) You can’t but wonder: Was 2004 the last year for new popular hits on broadcast TV?While you’re pondering that — keep in mind, 2004 also saw the debut of a tiny little pop culture juggernaut called Lost — enjoy some other fun bits of wisdom learned from perusing the Advertising Age survey:

  • Mike & Molly is the most expensive new show for advertising with an average cost of $189,160. Last year, that honor belonged to FlashForward ($175,724), so there’s no accounting for good taste.

  • Dancing With the Stars‘ Monday broadcast would be No. 11 with $204,806 (although you could also factor in the Tuesday broadcast, which gets $167,821.)

  • -CBS has only one show in the top ten — Two and a Half Men — but its shows tend to earn a groovy $120-150k. Conversely, NBC — which owns the No. 2 show, Sunday Night Football, and No. 8, The Office — only has five other shows that break $100k. (And one of them is The Event, so there’s no accounting for good taste.)

  • -The least expensive hour of original programming is The CW’s Supernatural, with $29,100. But we still love it.

  • -The CW’s most expensive show is The Vampire Diaries, with $74,913.

  • NCIS: LA gets bigger dollars than NCIS ($154,670 vs. $150,708), so there’s no accounting for good taste.

Here’s the top ten most expensive shows for advertisers:

1. American Idol (Fox), $467, 617 ($400,546 for the results show)

2. Sunday Night Football (NBC), $415,000

3. Glee (Fox), $272,694 ($373,014 in the spring)

4. Family Guy (Fox), $259, 289

5. The Simpsons (Fox) — $253, 170

6. House (Fox), $226, 180

7. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), $222,113

8. The Office (NBC), $213,617

9. Desperate Housewives (ABC), $210,064

10. Two and a Half Men (CBS), $206,722

Episode Recaps

The fourth season of Glee was full of ups and downs, but one consistent bright spot was Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, who stretched her wings…


Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.

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