Glitzy productions, highly paid judges and lots of public jabs at the competition has paid off for reality shows when it comes to making the all-important ad revenue. Fox’s “American Idol” topped Forbes list of TV’s Biggest Moneymakers, followed by the network’s freshman talent competition “The X Factor.”
Using ad estimates per half-hour tracked by data firm Kantar Media, Forbes ranked TV programs by how much ad revenue they generated.
While seeing a dip in its ratings this season and a 6 percent drop in revenue over last year, “American Idol” still holds the top spot with an estimated $6.64 million every half-hour.
“The X Factor’s” inaugural season raised an estimated $5.55 million in ad revenue per half-hour for Fox. But Forbes says those numbers were based on predictions before the show premiered — who can forget Simon Cowell’s 20 million viewers prediction? — and not with the average 12 million viewers per episode in mind.
The highest-ranked scripted series is CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” at No. 3. While ratings are lower in the post-Charlie Sheen age, Forbes predicts that Ashton Kutcher should keep the rates high for another season.
An interesting inclusion in the list? The canceled Jason Biggs comedy “Mad Love” at No. 9 with an estimated $2.4 million in ad revenue. It apparently benefited from its spot between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.”
Take a look at the full list at Forbes.com.