“American Idol’s” long run at the top of the Nielsen ratings ended last season, and as a result it’s also not TV’s most expensive weekly series anymore either.
The annual survey of ad rates for prime-time shows by Ad Age magazine shows “Idol’s” ad rates are this year are $340,825 for the Wednesday show and $296,002 for Thursday. That puts the show in the upper echelon of broadcast TV, but it’s nowhere near the new No. 1, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
The prime-time NFL game, which led last season’s ratings in both total viewers and adults 18-49, commands a hefty $545,142 for a 30-second commercial, up about $33,000 from last year. Pretty much the entire audience for “Sunday Night Football” also watches live, which means viewers aren’t skipping commercials.
Comedy has a big presence among 10 most expensive shows. You’d expect top-rated shows like “Modern Family” ($330,908 per 30-second spot) and “The Big Bang Theory” ($275,573) to grab big ad dollars, but surprisingly FOX’s “New Girl” scores highly as well. Although its overall audience isn’t nearly as big as either of the other comedies, its concentration of young viewers — which advertisers pay a premium to reach — allows it to charge more than $320,000 for a 30-second ad. CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” ($269,235) and “Two and a Half Men” ($247,261) also bring in the bucks, as do “The Simpsons” ($286,131) and “Family Guy” ($276,690).
“Grey’s Anatomy” is the most expensive drama on the broadcast networks, with ads costing just under $227,000. FOX’s midseason series “The Following” tops all new shows with an average cost of $194,425 for a 30-second spot.
Ad Age’s survey is based on data from media-buying and other agencies and reflects prices during the upfront market before the start of the season. You can see the full breakdown of ad rates here.