here's how much it costs to advertise in tv's biggest shows
Complete chart below
By . Published on October 2, 2018.

The cost of a commercial in some of the biggest shows on TV is getting lower.

Out of the 66 returning series on the big four broadcast networks and The CW, 41 saw the cost for a 30-second ad decrease in the 2018-19 season, according to Ad Age's annual pricing survey of media agencies. Only 12 returning shows received a price hike, and another 13 remained relatively steady compared with last year.

And TV's biggest property—the NFL—might have hit a ceiling in commercial prices, at least for now.

After two years of price hikes for a 30-second commercial in NBC's "Sunday Night Football," those increases have stalled this season. Advertisers are paying $665,677 on average for a 30-second spot in the broadcast, about $30,000 less than the $699,602 advertisers paid last year.

Still, "Sunday Night Football" remains by far the most expensive TV show for advertisers (excluding Fox's late-national NFL games on Sunday afternoons, which are not technically in prime time and average over $700,000 a pop).

"Thursday Night Football" experienced the same lull as Sunday nights. Fox is getting about $100,000 less for a 30-second commercial in those games than CBS or NBC received when they aired them last season. Advertisers are paying $434,078 on average for a commercial in "Thursday Night Football," compared with about $550,000 for the games on CBS and NBC last year.

Top 10 Priciest Shows on Broadcast For Advertisers
1
Sunday Night Football
$665,677
2
(tie)
Thursday Night Football
$434,078
2
This is Us
$433,866
4
The Big Bang Theory
$285,934
5
Empire
$227,494
6
(tie)
Young Sheldon
$213,536
6
The Voice (Mon)
$212,618
8
Grey's Anatomy
$204,792
9
The Conners
$201,065
10
The Voice (Tues)
$193,140
Photo credits: Sunday Night Football (NBC): NBC; Thursday Night Football: FOX; This Is Us: NBC Universal/Ron Batzdorff; Big Bang Theory: CBS/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc/Michael Yarish; Empire: FOX/Chuck Hodes; The Voice (Mon): NBC/Trae Patton; Young Sheldon: CBS/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Darren Michaels; Grey's Anatomy: Eric McCandless; The Conners: ABC/Eric McCandless; The Voice (Tues): NBC/Trae Patton

"Thursday Night Football," whose CBS and NBC editions last season tied for second place among broadcast's most expensive shows, again deadlocked for No. 2, this time with NBC's "This Is Us."

The merciless tear-jerker about two generations of family moved up from No. 4 last year, now averaging $433,866 per 30-second interlude. That makes "This Is Us" one of the few gainers from last year, up 10 percent from $394,428.

"This is Us" returned for its third season last month to 10.3 million total viewers and a 2.9 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic that advertisers want most. That was down about 20 percent in total viewers and 26 percent in the demo from the season 2 premiere. But it is still the highest-rated broadcast series among 18-to-49-year-olds outside sports.

Ad Age's survey is assembled using information from as many as six media-buying agencies. (See our 2017 pricing chart here.) The resulting prices should be viewed as directional indicators of unit cost and not the actual price that every advertiser paid for a 30-second spot. The numbers are based on agency estimates that can vary depending on the amount of inventory purchased from a network, the inclusion of any nontraditional advertising such as product placements, and the relationship that an advertiser and media-buying agency has with a network. The numbers also do not reflect multiplatform sales. Most TV advertising is typically purchased as part of larger negotiations, not on a one-off basis.

NBC's 'This Is Us' is back for its third season and is costing advertisers more than last year. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

These estimates also reflect the prices that advertisers and networks agreed on in this year's upfront marketplace. Prices have likely changed for those buying spots closer to the air date in the so-called "scatter" market that follows.

In its final season, "The Big Bang Theory" moved up two places to No. 4, averaging $285,934, on par with its cost last year.

Fox's "Empire" remains steady at No. 5, but saw a 29 percent plunge in its price. The hip-hop drama returned for its fifth season to 6.1 million total viewers and 1.9 rating in the demo, down 12 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

CBS's "Young Sheldon" joins the top 10 for the first time, tied for No. 6 with the Monday night episode of "The Voice" on NBC. In its sophomore season, the spin-off of "Big Bang" cost advertisers $213,536, up 18 percent.

Commercials in the Monday "Voice" saw an 18 percent price drop, to $212,618 from $259,180. Tuesday night's episode of the reality singing competition fell to No. 10 on the chart from No. 9 last year, down 16 percent to $193,140 on average.

In its 15th season, ABC's resilient "Grey's Anatomy" moved up two spots to No. 8, making it the oldest entertainment series in the top 10. The Shonda Rhimes medical drama cost advertisers $204,792, roughly the same as last year.

At No. 9, "The Conners" is the list's other newcomer (at least arguably). The show replaces "Roseanne" this season on Tuesday nights, filling the void created when ABC cancelled that reboot after a racist Twitter outburst from Roseanne Barr. "The Conners," which follows the lives of the family in the aftermath of the death of Barr's character, cost advertisers $201,065 on average, 21 percent more than the $166,573 for the "Roseanne" reboot last season.

'Young Sheldon' on CBS, the 'Big Bang Theory' spin-off, cracked the broadcast top 10 ad price chart for the first time. Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS

Missing from this year's top 10 is another ABC comedy, "Modern Family," marking the first time since the show debuted in 2009 that it hasn't cracked the list. While no official announcement has been made, the current season of the series is expected to be its last. The cost for a 30-second ad in "Modern Family" peaked in 2012, when it came in at No. 3 with an average of $330,908.

This year, half a minute during "Modern Family" averaged $164,767, down 31 percent from a year earlier in one the biggest percentage price drops on broadcast.

Other shows that took a big price hit include two other ABC comedies. "Fresh Off the Boat" fell 34 percent and "Speechless" plunged 50 percent after they both moved to Fridays this season, a backwater compared to earlier nights in the week.

NBC's reboot of "Will & Grace" saw its price drop by 24 percent, to $161,373.

One of this season's biggest gainers was Fox's "9-1-1," the Ryan Murphy drama. Advertisers are paying $173,854 on average, up 29 percent from last year. And ABC's "The Good Doctor," a breakout hit from last season, saw a 24 percent increase to $155,916 on average.

How Much For a 30-Second TV Spot?

1abc America's Funniest Home Videos 707Sunday
7 p.m.
56,270 57,874 -3%
1abc Dancing With the Stars Juniors 708Sunday
8 p.m.
102,145 -100NA -100NA
1abc Shark Tank 710Sunday
9 p.m.
80,245 100,559 -20%
1abc Dancing with the Stars 108Monday
8 p.m.
113,977 139,448 -18%
1abc The Good Doctor 112Monday
10 p.m.
155,916 125,678 24%
1abc The Conners 208Tuesday
8 p.m.
201,065 -100NA -100NA
1abc The Kids Are Alright 209Tuesday
8:30 p.m.
115,656 -100NA -100NA
1abc Black-ish 210Tuesday
9 p.m.
117,766 134,639 -13%
1abc Splitting Up Together 211Tuesday
9:30 p.m.
104,563 115,857 -10%
1abc The Rookie 212Tuesday
10 p.m.
87,580 -100NA -100NA
1abc The Goldbergs 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
135,124 160,193 -16%
1abc American Housewife 309Wednesday
8:30 p.m.
122,193 129,083 -5%
1abc Modern Family 310Wednesday
9 p.m.
164,767 239,782 -31%
1abc Single Parents 311Wednesday
9:30 p.m.
120,666 -100NA -100NA
1abc A Million Little Things 312Wednesday
10 p.m.
142,635 -100NA -100NA
1abc Grey's Anatomy 408Thursday
8 p.m.
204,792 213,576 -4%
1abc Station 19 410Thursday
9 p.m.
120,301 -100NA -100NA
1abc How to Get Away With Murder 412Thursday
10 p.m.
126,951 164,984 -23%
1abc Fresh Off The Boat 508Friday
8 p.m.
78,862 119,589 -34%
1abc Speechless 509Friday
8:30 p.m.
69,418 139,556 -50%
1abc Child Support 510Friday
9 p.m.
69,324 -100NA -100NA
1abc 20/20 512Friday
10 p.m.
44,410 63,400 -30%
1abc Saturday Night Football 608Saturday
8 p.m.
92,936 97,004 -4%
1abc The Bachelor midseason 139,797 139,629 0%
1abc The Bachelorette midseason 153,096 -100NA -100NA
1abc American Idol midseason 154,096 191,999 -20%
1abc Marvel's Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason 74,422 94,921 -22%
1abc The Fix midseason 74,834 -100NA -100NA
1abc Grand Hotel midseason 81,411 -100NA -100NA
1abc Whiskey Cavalier midseason 89,664 -100NA -100NA
1abc Schooled midseason 89,835 -100NA -100NA
2cbs 60 Minutes 707Sunday
7 p.m.
105,743 124,250 -15%
2cbs God Friended Me 708Sunday
8 p.m.
86,113 -100NA -100NA
2cbs NCIS: Los Angeles 710Sunday
9 p.m.
101,449 116,268 -13%
2cbs Madam Secretary 712Sunday
10 p.m.
65,500 82,653 -21%
2cbs The Neighborhood 108Monday
8 p.m.
84,417 -100NA -100NA
2cbs Happy Together 109Monday
8:30 p.m.
98,261 -100NA -100NA
2cbs Magnum P.I. 110Monday
9 p.m.
99,430 -100NA -100NA
2cbs Bull 112Monday
9 p.m.
102,620 128,768 -20%
2cbs NCIS 208Tuesday
8 p.m.
135,960 139,792 -3%
2cbs FBI 210Tuesday
9 p.m.
109,836 -100NA -100NA
2cbs NCIS: New Orleans 212Tuesday
10 p.m.
100,609 98,421 2%
2cbs Survivor 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
137,547 141,880 -3%
2cbs Seal Team 310Wednesday
9 p.m.
104,267 134,251 -22%
2cbs Criminal Minds 312Wednesday
9 p.m.
105,041 115,505 -9%
2cbs The Big Bang Theory 408Thursday
8 p.m.
285,934 285,908 0%
2cbs Young Sheldon 409Thursday
8:30 p.m.
213,536 180,393 18%
2cbs Mom 410Thursday
9 p.m.
126,395 122,318 3%
2cbs Murphy Brown 411Thursday
9:30 p.m.
120,734 -100NA -100NA
2cbs S.W.A.T. 412Thursday
10 p.m.
105,103 121,586 -14%
2cbs MacGyver 508Friday
8 p.m.
67,190 76,143 -12%
2cbs Hawaii Five-0 510Friday
9 p.m.
87,701 87,302 0%
2cbs Blue Bloods 512Friday
10 p.m.
85,069 83,319 2%
2cbs Crimetime Saturday 608Saturday
8 p.m.
29,640 -100NA -100NA
2cbs Crimetime Saturday 610Saturday
9 p.m.
29,141 -100NA -100NA
2cbs 48 Hours 612Saturday
10 p.m.
48,060 36,383 32%
2cbs The Amazing Race midseason 117,871 -100NA -100NA
2cbs Celebrity Big Brother midseason 92,409 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Sunday Night Football 708Sunday
8 p.m.
665,677 699,602 -5%
4nbc The Voice (Monday) 108Monday
8 p.m.
212,618 259,180 -18%
4nbc Manifest 112Monday
10 p.m.
167,311 -100NA -100NA
4nbc The Voice (Tuesday) 208Tuesday
8 p.m.
193,140 229,956 -16%
4nbc This Is Us 210Tuesday
9 p.m.
433,866 394,428 10%
4nbc New Amsterdam 212Tuesday
10 p.m.
129,736 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Chicago Med 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
161,561 134,463 20%
4nbc Chicago Fire 310Wednesday
9 p.m.
147,689 138,698 6%
4nbc Chicago P.D. 312Wednesday
10 p.m.
130,206 139,869 -7%
4nbc Superstore 408Thursday
8 p.m.
106,487 112,811 -6%
4nbc The Good Place 409Thursday
8:30 p.m.
125,498 115,667 9%
4nbc Will & Grace 410Thursday
9 p.m.
161,373 211,856 -24%
4nbc I Feel Bad 411Thursday
9:30 p.m.
99,902 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Law & Order: SVU 412Thursday
10 p.m.
105,030 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Blindspot 508Friday
8 p.m.
67,477 90,846 -26%
4nbc Midnight Texas 510Friday
9 p.m.
64,088 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Dateline NBC 512Friday
10 p.m.
49,378 52,871 -7%
4nbc Dateline Mystery 6098Saturday
8 p.m.
36,532 41,742 -12%
4nbc Saturday Night Live Encores 610Saturday
9 p.m.
54,505 32,919 66%
4nbc A.P. Bio midseason 80,289 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Brooklyn Nine-Nine midseason 91,029 -100NA -100NA
4nbc Abby's midseason 72,988 -100NA -100NA
4nbc The Blacklist midseason 87,287 114,957 -24%
4nbc Good Girls midseason 99,669 -100NA -100NA
4nbc The Enemy Within midseason 98,410 -100NA -100NA
4nbc The Village midseason 108,892 -100NA -100NA
3fox NFL Game 706Sunday 687,921 -100NA -100NA
3fox The Simpsons 708Sunday
8 p.m.
162,725 140,699 16%
3fox Bob's Burger 709Sunday
8:30 p.m.
99,184 75,333 32%
3fox Family Guy 710Sunday
9 p.m.
120,103 139,295 -14%
3fox REL 711Sunday
9:30 p.m.
114,573 -100NA -100NA
3fox The Resident 108Monday
8 p.m.
108,593 -100NA -100NA
3fox 911 110Monday
9 p.m.
173,854 129,110 35%
3fox The Gifted 208Tuesday
8 p.m.
111,898 133,724 -16%
3fox Lethal Weapon 210Tuesday
9 p.m.
98,932 132,331 -25%
3fox Empire 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
216,171 305,369 -29%
3fox Star 310Wednesday
9 p.m.
133,620 150,262 -11%
3foxfox Thursday Night Football 408Thursday
8 p.m.
434,078 -100NA -100NA
3fox Last Man Standing 508Friday
8 p.m.
85,574 -100NA -100NA
3fox The Cool Kids 509Friday
8:30 p.m.
60,757 -100NA -100NA
3fox Hell's Kitchen 510Friday
9 p.m.
79,082 94,507 -16%
3foxfox Fox Sports Saturday 608Saturday
8 p.m.
67,277 82,599 -19%
3foxfox The Passage midseason 99,627 -100NA -100NA
3foxfox Proven Innocent midseason 68,438 -100NA -100NA
3foxfox Cosmos: Possible Worlds midseason 107,592 -100NA -100NA
5cw Supergirl 408Sunday
8 p.m.
31,541 50,511 -37%
5cw Charmed 410Sunday
9 p.m.
24,732 -100NA -100NA
5cw DC's Legends of Tomorrow 108Monday
8 p.m.
28,803 37,525 -23%
5cw Arrow 110Monday
9 p.m.
25,637 37,453 -32%
5cw The Flash 208Tuesday
8 p.m.
45,965 62,425 -26%
5cw Black Lightning 210Tuesday
9 p.m.
34,802 -100NA -100NA
5cw Riverdale 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
29,662 32,831 -10
5cw All American 308Wednesday
8 p.m.
30,846 -100NA -100NA
5cw Supernatural 408Thursday
8 p.m.
29,409 34,430 -15
5cw Legacies 410Thursday
9 p.m.
27,154 -100NA -100NA
5cw Dynasty 508Friday
8 p.m.
17,859 38,251 -53%
5cw Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 510Friday
9 p.m.
15,938 14,371 11%
HOW WE GENERATE THE DATA: Ad Age's survey is compiled using data from as many as six agencies. The resulting prices should be viewed as directional indicators and are not the actual price that every advertiser pays for a 30-second spot. The numbers are based on a range of agency estimates that can vary depending on the amount of inventory purchased from a network, the inclusion of any nontraditional advertising such as product placements, and the relationship an advertiser and media-buying agency has with a network. Most TV advertising is typically purchased as part of larger negotiations, not on a one-off basis. These estimates also reflect the prices advertisers and networks agreed on in this year's upfront marketplace. Prices have likely changed for those wishing to buy a spot closer to the air date in the so-called "scatter" market.
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