10 of the Most Expensive TV Shows to Produce in TV History

10 of the Most Expensive TV Shows to Produce in TV History

A lot goes into making a television series—great writers, talented actors, a hardworking crew, and, you guessed it, money (and lots of it!) Whether you know it or not, some of your favorite TV shows have budgets that go well into the tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars. The more involved a show is—think, mind-blowing visual effects, otherworldly locations, and intricately-designed costumes—the more expensive its budget becomes.

From a television series that spent over $14 million just on its pilot to a show that paid each of its leading actors a staggering $1 million per episode, here are 10 of the most expensive shows produced in TV history.

(Helen Sloan - HBO)
Game of Thrones

Considered one of the most expensive television shows ever created, the Game of Thrones budget climbed higher and higher as the years went on. For instance, the first season’s budget was estimated to have been around $60 million in total, but by the last season, the show’s budget was a whopping $15 million per episode.

(Courtesy of HBO)
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings trilogy took millions to make, so it’s no surprise that Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power came with a similar price tag. Business Insider reported that the series’ first season cost the streaming giant a jaw-dropping $715 million.

(Courtesy of Prime Video)
The Crown

Netflix’s The Crown has a budget of approximately $260 million per season. It looks like lavish settings, custom-made sets, and an enviable wardrobe fit for a queen comes with a hefty price tag.

(Rich Fury - Getty Images)

Known as one of the most popular television series of the early-2000s, Lost's pilot alone cost over $14 million. It turns out it was the plane prop that made the budget so incredibly high.

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Medical drama ER, which starred a then-thirty-something year old George Clooney, spent $13 million per an episode during its fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons. That’s equivalent to around $24 million today.

(NBC - Getty Images)
The Pacific

Believe it or not, the war drama miniseries The Pacific went 100% over its projected budget—it originally was supposed to spend $100 million but managed to go well over $200 million.

(Frank Trapper - Getty Images)

Although Friends didn’t require tons of special effects or elaborately-designed costumes and settings, it still was one of the most expensive television shows in history to make. This is because every leading cast member was paid $1 million per episode during the final two seasons, hiking up each episode’s budget to at least $10 million.

(NBC - Getty Images)
The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian, the incredibly popular space western series that stars Pedro Pascal, spends a reported $15 million on each episode.

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Stranger Things

Known as one of Netflix’s biggest series, the fourth season of Stranger Things cost the streamer an eye-watering $270 million.

(Rachel Murray - Getty Images)

Although the exact numbers haven’t been revealed, it was reported during the series’ development that each episode of WandaVision would cost an astronomically high $25 million to create.

(AaronP/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images)

One show spent over $700 million on its first season.