We’ve written about how each of the episodes in Game of Thrones‘ upcoming eighth season may be 90 minutes long, and now it sounds like HBO is giving showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss a big enough budget to make sure the show goes out with a bang. A new report indicates that each of the show’s final six episodes will cost $15 million, but where does that place Thrones on the overall list of the most expensive TV shows ever made?
Variety has an in-depth report about the rising costs of producing television in the Peak TV era, citing a lack of experience from showrunners and production crews who have been thrust into higher positions simply because there are more scripted shows than ever before. When all is said and done, 2017 is expected to have seen over 500 different scripted series air during the calendar year. Costs are increasing for more practical reasons, too: with more shows shooting in major cities than ever, productions need to travel further away to find locations that haven’t been used before. And the amount of equipment necessary to make a show look cinematic enough to compete with its contemporaries has also risen, and renting more equipment costs more money.
Because streaming services like Amazon and Netflix don’t have to play by the same rules as traditional broadcast television, they’ve been able to use subscriber costs to justify these larger budgets – and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to stop anytime soon. David Wells, Netflix’s finance chief, even speculated that a show that costs $20 million per hour is “certainly” possible in the near future. (Currently, Netflix’s most expensive show is The Crown, which reportedly costs $10 million per episode, but The Get Down cost $10.9 million, and Marco Polo hovered around $9 million per episode.) We may be on the verge of a bubble bursting, but until it does, these networks, streaming sites, and premium channels are going to be spending some major cash to make sure they grab your attention.