10 Most Expensive Sitcom Episodes Ever Made (& Why They Cost So Much)

Sitcoms aren’t usually very expensive, relying more on dialogue, and character and plot development rather than spectacular CGI scenes or settings. How much could it cost to produce a show where every episode is set in the same living room or coffee shop? Apparently, quite a bit.

Married…With Children – $1 Million Per Episode

Loved for its sarcasm and bleak but comedic outlook, Married…With Children eventually ended in 1997. At that time, its budget per episode was $1 million. In today’s dollars, that’s about $1,650,000. In the final season, Ed O’Neill (Al Bundy) was making $500,000 per episode, fully 50 percent of the entire budget per episode.

How I Met Your Mother – $2 Million Per Episode

Having five main characters certainly contributed to the cost of the show, with each character earning $225,000 per episode, with the exception of Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson), who earned $400,000. That means $1.3 million of each episode’s budget went towards paying the show’s core actors.

Arrested Development – $3 Million Per Episode

When the show came back in 2013, it did so with a bigger budget, much of which went toward convincing the original actors to drop what they were doing and return to revitalize the sitcom. An episode in season four cost $3 million. The show went on to air for another six years before ending in 2019.

Seinfeld – $3.25 Million Per Episode

In its later seasons, it was costing about $2 million per episode to produce the show. In today’s dollars, that amounts to just over $3.5 million. As with most sitcoms, much of the cost went straight to the actors who made the show so hilarious.

Cheers – $4 Million Per Episode

It certainly wasn’t the Boston barroom set that caused these prices. Actor Ted Danson, also of Fargo and CSI, was earning $500,000 per episode. Add in the rest of the regular cast members and you can see where the budget went.

The Tick – $5 Million Per Episode

The high cost of creating superhero-worthy effects no doubt played a part in the economic decision to cancel this sitcom. Special effects, CGI, and green screen technology all contributed to this Amazon Prime original series costing $5 million to produce each episode.

Frasier – $7.3 Million Per Episode

The show ended in 2004, at which time each episode cost about $5.2 million to make. That is just under $7.3 million today. Frasier Crane actor Kelsey Grammer received $1.6 million per episode, making him the highest-paid actor in any of the sitcoms listed here. Add the other actors, including two dogs, who were each paid $10,000 per episode, and once again, you can see where the money went.

The Big Bang Theory – $9 Million Per Episode

For 12 seasons, this series kept fans laughing at the antics of four nerdy physicists. From 2013 to the show’s finale in 2019, each episode cost about $9 million to produce. This was mainly due to the actors’ high salaries.

Friends – $12.5 Million Per Episode

At its peak, this show cost $10 million per episode to make, which in today’s dollars comes to $12.5 million. $6 million of that went straight to the main actors who each had an equal salary of $1 million per episode by season 9.

WandaVision – $25 Million Per Episode

Marvel hasn’t held back in the special effects department in its feature-length films, and its made-for-TV stories look to be no different. The incredible budget of $25 million per episode went mainly into the incredible movie-quality effects. Add to that a variety of sets, costumes, top-billing Avengers actors, and the fact that Vision required constant CGI enhancement, and you can see how this show became so expensive.

Author: Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.