How Much Are These 91 TV Shows Worth To Advertisers?

    With the television business experiencing seismic disruptions, Ad Age's annual survey of what 30-second commercials cost on all of the network shows reveals a fascinating hierarchy.

    Last week, Ad Age magazine unleashed its annual survey of how much a 30-second commercial costs on every show on network television. As you would assume, with live viewing decreasing every year, and the power of the networks eroding on the whole, Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi found that many shows took hits compared to last year's survey. Some shockingly so.

    But there are exceptions! The phenomenon that is CBS's The Big Bang Theory shot to the top of scripted shows. And advertisers seem to believe in this year's American Idol judging panel more than they did in last year's. Shows such as ABC's Scandal and NBC's The Voice also got their just rewards, particularly since they both attract real-time audiences.

    I've ranked the shows below according to Ad Age data from most expensive to least. Along with last year's Ad Age numbers for each show, I've also included the season-to-date Live+Same Day ratings for the first four weeks of the season so we can look at whether the advertisers made good bets. The networks are encouraging the press to use Nielsen's more cumulative measurements, such as Live+3 or Live+7 numbers. For journalists who write for consumers, it's absolutely worth looking at how many people really watch a show, whether on television, VOD, or streaming. But Nielsen doesn't offer those. And once you really try to figure out a true audience, why just three days? Or seven days? Why not 30? Or 365? Many of us have probably saved up shows on our DVRs and then watched them all at once.

    And when we did, we probably did not watch the commercials. Which is why I chose to use the Live+Same Day ratings here. Three more housekeeping things: 1) I didn't include shows that have already been canceled — We Are Men, Ironside, and a few more — because... well, they have no ads anymore for you to wonder about! But I'll put those numbers at the very bottom. 2) In evaluating how shows are doing, ratings-wise, their performances depend on what network they're on and what night they're on. A strong show on Fridays will likely pale in comparison to hits on other nights of the week; and what's considered a success for NBC is very different from one on CBS. Finally, 3) Ad Age has a complicated methodology for how it gathered its information, and I will append that to the bottom as well.

    Without further ado, here is the ranked list. Only live-readers in the 18–49 demographic are allowed, though.

    1. Sunday Night Football $593,694 (NBC, Sundays at 8 p.m.)

    2. American Idol $355,943 (Midseason, Fox, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

    3. The Big Bang Theory $316,912 (Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

    4. The Voice $294,038 (NBC, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    5. Modern Family $281,951 (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)

    6. New Girl $236,857 (Fox, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    7. The Simpsons $231,532 (Fox, Sundays at 8 p.m.)

    8. The Following $211,832 (Midseason, Fox, Mondays at 9 p.m.)

    9. Scandal $207,053 (ABC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

    10. Family Guy $206,551 (Fox, Sundays at 9 p.m.)

    11. Grey's Anatomy $204,658 (ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

    12. The Blacklist $201,650 (NBC, Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    13. Two and a Half Men $183,904 (CBS, Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    14. The X Factor $179,034 (Fox, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

    15. 2 Broke Girls $175,506 (CBS, Mondays at 9 p.m., will move to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 4)

    16. The Millers $174,442 (CBS, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)

    17. Once Upon a Time $173,062 (ABC, Sundays at 8 p.m.)

    18. Glee $171,757 (Fox, Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

    19. The Crazy Ones $167,569 (CBS, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

    20. How I Met Your Mother $165,999 (CBS, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    21. NCIS $160,264 (CBS, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    22. Bones $159,932 (Fox, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    23. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D $151,305 (ABC, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    24. Dads $148,188 (Fox, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    25. Brooklyn Nine-Nine $146,697 (Fox, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.)

    26. Almost Human $145,613 (Fox, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    27. American Dad $144,642 (Fox, Sundays at 9:30 p.m.)

    28. About a Boy $146,203 (Midseason, NBC, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    29. Mom $139,070 (CBS, Mondays at 9:30 p.m.)

    30. Resurrection $138,022 (Midseason, ABC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)

    31. Sleepy Hollow $137,610 (Fox, Mondays at 9 p.m.)

    32. Person of Interest $136,710 (CBS, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)

    33. Bob's Burgers $135,733 (Fox, Sundays at 8:30 p.m.)

    34. Hostages $133,185 (CBS, Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    35. Chicago Fire $130,963 (NBC, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)

    36. Intelligence $129,422 (Midseason, CBS, Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    37. Super Fun Night $127,848 (ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    38. Elementary $127,700 (CBS, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

    39. The Family Guide $125,900 (Midseason, NBC, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    40. Castle $124,050 (ABC, Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    41. NCIS: Los Angeles $121,699 (CBS, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    42. The Middle $120,983 (ABC, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

    43. Survivor $120,822 (CBS, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

    44. Criminal Minds $119,052 (CBS, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)

    45. The Mindy Project $117,987 (Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    46. Revenge $114,002 (ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m.)

    47. CSI $113,628 (CBS, Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)

    48. Nashville $107,591 (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)

    49. Dancing With the Stars $106,342 (ABC, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    50. Betrayal $105,447 (ABC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)

    51. 60 Minutes $104,190 (CBS, Sundays at 7 p.m.)

    52. The Amazing Race $101,522 (CBS, Sundays at 8 p.m.)

    53. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland $97,136 (Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

    54. The Michael J. Fox Show $95,663 (NBC, Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    55. Back in the Game $94,213 (ABC, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)

    56. The Biggest Loser $91,672 (NBC, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    57. Crisis $90,433 (Midseason, NBC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)

    58. Parenthood $89,278 (NBC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

    59. Revolution $87,188 (NBC, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

    60. MasterChef Junior $86,478 (Fox, Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    61. Grimm $84,760 (NBC, Fridays at 9 p.m.)

    62. Sean Saves the World $80,939 (NBC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

    63. Trophy Wife $80,634 (ABC, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.)

    64. Shark Tank $80,328 (ABC, Fridays at 9 p.m.)

    65. Parks & Recreation $78,146 (NBC, Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

    66. Believe $77,678 (Midseason, NBC, Sundays at 9 p.m.)

    67. Last Man Standing $75,124 (ABC, Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    68. The Mentalist $74,330 (CBS, Sundays at 10 p.m.)

    69. Law & Order: SVU $73,477 (NBC, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)

    70. The Good Wife $70,446 (CBS, Sundays at 9 p.m.)

    71. The Neighbors $69,937 (ABC, Fridays at 8:30 p.m.)

    72. Raising Hope $76,350 (Fox, Fridays at 9 p.m.)

    73. Crossbones $66,190 (Midseason, NBC, Fridays at 10 p.m.)

    74. Undercover Boss $65,096 (CBS, Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    75. 20/20 $64,838 (ABC, Fridays at 10 p.m.)

    76. America's Funniest Home Videos $63,129 (ABC, Sundays at 7 p.m.)

    77. Hawaii Five-0 $61,160 (CBS, Fridays at 9 p.m.)

    78. Blue Bloods $59,863 (CBS, Fridays at 10 p.m.)

    79. Dracula $59,705 (NBC, Fridays at 10 p.m.)

    80. The Vampire Diaries $55,788 (CW, Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

    81. Dateline NBC $49,809 (NBC, Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    82. Arrow $47,859 (CW, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    83. The Tomorrow People $40,807 (CW, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    84. Supernatural $39,410 (CW, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    85. The Originals $39,406 (CW, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

    86. Reign $37,622 (CW, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

    87. 48 Hours $32,150 (CBS, Saturdays at 10 p.m.)

    88. Hart of Dixie $27,691 (CW, Mondays at 8 p.m.)

    89. America's Next Top Model $25,513 (CW, Fridays at 9 p.m.)

    90. The Carrie Diaries $23,538 (CW, Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    91. Beauty and the Beast $21,817 (CW, Mondays at 9 p.m.)

    Here's how Ad Age describes its methodology: "Ad Age's survey is compiled using data from as many as seven media-buying agencies. Prices should be taken as directional indications, not the actual numbers advertisers pay for a spot, as estimates can vary depending on the amount of inventory purchased from a network and the relationship an advertiser has with the network. Ad Age's survey is based on what advertisers paid during this year's upfront and prices may have changed for those purchasing closer to air date, or in the "scatter" market." (This is me talking: The upfront is the period after the networks announce their schedules when advertisers can pay "upfront" for spots, usually for less money than if they wait.)

    Prices for ads on shows already canceled: CBS's We Are Men, $137,121; ABC's Lucky 7, $82,746; NBC's Welcome to the Family, $62,368, and Ironside $78,097.

    Omissions: Shows such as Fox's Rake, NBC's Hannibal, CBS's Mike & Molly and a handful of others (Fox's Surviving Jack, ABC's Killer Women, etc.) weren't on Ad Age's survey because at the time of publication, they had not been scheduled. (Even though Rake and Mike & Molly now have been.) Also, I didn't include Fox's Enlisted because it was pushed from November to January, but on the Ad Age chart, it was still a fall show. (The show will now premiere on Friday, Jan. 10.) Since I couldn't verify whether the number ($67,789) was still valid, I omitted it.

    Lastly! Since apparently gathering the information for ad costs is an art, not a science, here's Adweek's version of 30-second ad costs for the 2013–14 schedule. The numbers vary a bit.