Top 10 Most Expensive TV Shows

Television has always been a popular and more accessible alternative to movies. In fact, most people today get glued to their seats and watch TV for hours on end. This is because of the magnificent creations of producers and studios that are continually brought to us on small screens.

While TV shows are more marketable and convenient to watch than films are, the production value of these shows is certainly not cheap. As the popularity of certain series rose, so did the massive budgets associated with making these. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that only movies have the budget to bring their creations to life.


Whether it’s the all-star cast or the extensive props used to make the set, know that there are numerous reasons behind a show’s expenses. Want to learn more about these? Continue reading to learn more about the 10 most expensive TV shows ever produced. 

10. House of Cards

10. House of Cards,

Price: $4.5 million per episode

Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, this Netflix creation certainly made big waves in the streaming services thanks to its political topics and discussions. The price associated with this series is warranted, especially when it costs a lot to recreate the White House. Not to mention, Spacey himself gots approximately $500,000 per episode, according to Business Insider.

9. Boardwalk Empire

9. Boardwalk Empire,

Price: $5 million per episode

One of HBO’s most popular shows to date, Boardwalk Empire takes production design and filming to a whole new level. Spanning around 15 days of filming, USA Today says an episode takes so much make thanks in no small part to the Boardwalk set which costs $2 million alone to make. The equally elaborate and lavish costumes and clothes also factor into the overall price.

8. The Alienist

8. The Alienist,

Price: $7.5 million per episode

TNT’s detailed depiction of 1980’s Manhattan manifested itself through its authentic sets and even better special effects. Even TNT acknowledged that the series is the most expensive creation the channel has ever created throughout its 30-year history. Paying for the big names that headline the show, including the likes of Luke Evans, Daniel Bruhl, and Dakota Fanning, certainly doesn’t help either.

7. Sense8

7. Sense8,

Price: $9 million per episode

Many people were devastated over the sudden cancellation of this beloved show. However, it seems that Netflix’s decision came from the burden of a massive budget of $9 million per episode. Although the statement from Netflix did not indicate a particular reason for canceling the show, many fans speculated that it may have been because of the budget. Despite leaving the screens after a short but sweet stint, Sense8 left fans with a large community that celebrates diversity.

6. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

6. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.,

Price: $10 million per episode

To this day, many loyal viewers and avid enthusiasts continue to watch this show – long after it has stopped making episodes. While the lovable cast and the engaging storylines kept people wanting more, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. ended its run just after 10 seasons. Despite its huge following, the network announced its exit because of the huge production costs per episode. The chunk of these budgets goes to the $1 million-per-episode deal the whole cast negotiated together.

5. Band of Brothers

5. Band of Brothers,

Price: $12.5 million per episode

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are the main producers of this miniseries, so you already have an idea why there are no cutting costs. Apart from using appropriate costumes from World War 2, the producers also allocated funding towards large-scale sets and other essential effects. After watching an episode of Band of Brothers, it won’t be difficult to see where this large budget goes. 

4. The Crown

4. The Crown,

Price: $13 million per episode

A show about England’s favorite monarch Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown is undeniably one of Netflix’s most expensive series. With the aim to recreate the look and feel of the lives of royals, creators and producers alike spared no expense. From creating the $35,000 wedding dress to replicating the Buckingham Palace, this show surely goes all out.

3. Game of Thrones

3. Game of Thrones
@Selwina /,

Price: $15 million per episode

Although GOT ended on a disappointing note, one cannot say the creators cut costs on the show. Especially, not when the final season featured some of the longest running times throughout the series. Think of each episode as a mini-movie – with the company investing heavily in CGI, battle scenes, costumes, and other special effects. From starting out around $6 to $8 million per episode, the jump to $15 million is definitely huge.

2. The Get Down

2. The Get Down,

Price: $16 million per episode

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Netflix’s The Get Down commanded a whopping $16 million-per-episode deal for its first season. According to Vulture, most of this amount accounts for the services Luhrmann and his wife spend in creating the show. Other costs went to equally seasoned professionals giving their services such as Nelson George, rapper Nas, wardrobe experts, and overall visual and production design.

1. The Pacific

1. The Pacific,

Price: $20 million per episode

Taking the number one spot is The Pacific, another miniseries produced by Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Zeroing in on what is called the bloodiest battle in the history of World War II in the Pacific, most of the budget went to Peleliu landing alone (which you have to watch to believe it). Dynamite that costs $2 per round, explosions, and weapons also played a big role in the story – most of which cost a total of $13,500 per take.



Filming a television series doesn’t necessarily mean spending less than shows being aired on the big screen. Sometimes, the prices are just as high per take. Now that you know how much goes into making these cult classics, which do you think is worth every penny?

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