Big budget television: The 5 most expensive TV shows of 2020
So much money is spent on the production of television shows, compared to the past when it was seen as a less expensive medium than film. On behalf of Now-loan, we thought it might be interesting to look at what the most expensive TV shows are as of 2020.
As it has not been broadcast or available to stream and is scheduled for a 2021 release date, the Amazon Prime Lord of the Rings series is not included, though that is the most expensive to date with an estimated budget of $1bn (approximately £810m).
So, what comes close to the small-screen return to Middle-Earth?
Game of Thrones
It’s probably no surprise that the HBO fantasy series created by David Benioff and DB Weiss and based on the popular cult classic A Song of Fire and Ice books by George RR Martin make the list. From the outset, the first series had a per-episode cost of around $5(£4.05million), which ballooned to $15m(12.15million).
The interesting thing is that while the show did rely on a lot of special effects, it was for rather traditional reasons that the costs crept up. The main actors, who managed to avoid the chop, had all got pay rises due to the success, meaning they each made around $500,000(£405,200) every episode.
You will notice this is a recurring reason for inflated budgets as we look at the other entries on our list.
At one time Netflix was very forthright about their intention to make The Crown one of the most expensive television shows in history. Although the total spent is nowhere near the amount spent on other, even pricier shows, at the time when the show first was released in 2017, $130m (£105,352,000) was seen as a big deal for 2 seasons of television.
Curiously, despite big-name additions like Gillian Anderson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Olivia Colman for the last 2 series, it’s mare down to the backdrops and painstakingly replicated clothing that has rocketed the cost of the show.
One of the reasons why so many people were excited about the launch of Disney+ was undoubtedly the new Star Wars universe show The Mandalorian. It is thought that it cost around $240 million (£195m approx.) in total. What has all that money gone, with episodes costing as much as $15m(£12.15m) a pop?
Rather than it being the stars, it is the fact that Jon Favreau was heading it as showrunner, as he is a name known to have success and uses cutting-edge special effects. Whether you think Baby Yoda is cute or an abomination, there’s no denying that this is one of the most expensive shows of all time.
It is also hardly surprising that HBO’s show about a billionaire and his family, as well as the many secrets and lies, backbiting and backstabbing that surround them, figures high on our list.
We’re not too sure just how much was spent to make it, but judging by the expensive costumes, props, and vehicles and, probably most crucially of all, locations used to create a realistic billionaire lifestyle, it is bound to be at least $90m(£72.93m), though probably more.
Okay, so it was back in 2010 when The Pacific hit the small screen. However, that hasn’t stopped Stephen Spielberg’s war epic remaining at the top spot with the cost per episode reaching an unbelievable $21.7m(£17.585m). The money was well-spent, as it mostly went towards ensuring battles were as accurate as possible.