American Idol tops Forbes’ rich list

Never mind the ratings, a show is also likely to live or die based on its revenue and profitability.

In America the show that lands the highest ad revenue is American Idol, at $6.64m per half hour, according to Forbes.

But it is down 6% from the previous year.

Here’s how the top 10 stacked up in ad revenue per half hour:

1. American Idol $6.64 million
2. The X Factor $5.55 million
3. Two and a Half Men $3.24 million
4. Glee $2.83 million
5. Grey’s Anatomy $2.75 million
6. Dancing with the Stars $2.72 million
7. Desperate Housewives $2.61 million
8. The Big Bang Theory $2.57 million
9. Mad Love $2.49 million
10. Modern Family $2.13 million

Mad Love was actually cancelled last May. But it lands on this list because it was sandwiched in between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.

As a result, Forbes notes that advertisers tend to pay the most for established shows such as Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy even though their ratings have slipped.

“Even though those shows are past their heyday, they’re still the top prime time shows on their networks,” says Jon Swallen, head of research at Kantar Media. “For that reason the networks will demand higher pricing.”

Despite slipping in the ratings since Charlie Sheen left, Two and a Half Men still does pretty well for CBS. Glee also brings in big bucks for FOX via music sales with the cast now among the top ten downloaded groups of all time.


  1. Wow, Two and a Half Men is pulling in that much?

    I read in NYT that it’s ratings have plummeted to the worst in 5 years. I doubt it will be that high next year.

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