Tuesday, October 03, 2006

TV Is Getting Very Expensive

And I don't mean your cable bill. TV pilots are more expensive than a lot of indie films, costing some $6 million more often than not. And a full season of a show for a major network? $60 million for 22 episodes is becoming common. That's a LOT of DVD sales they'd need to break even. But the money shows on screen: the quality of fall pilots this year was the best I've ever seen; even the bad shows were watchable, slick, good-looking and filled with top-notch actors. Pilots used to be unbearable; you'd watch them and think THIS is the best they could do? Now you only react that way to sitcoms. But I question the comment that only a handful of actors used to get more than $100,000 an episode before this year. Seems like you could name a bunch of folks on sitcoms like "Raymond," "Seinfeld," "Friends," and dramas like "ER" where that was happening. The top-paid sitcom actor is Charlie Sheen with a little over $300,000, nowhere near the top dollars Seinfeld and Raymond made. (But of course they had much bigger hits.)

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