April 30, 2021 | by: Michelle Roy

Renewed or Canceled: The Status and Budget of Every TV Show

There’s nothing better after a long day than curling up on the couch with a bucket of popcorn and watching your favorite shows. Networks like Disney’s ABC decide to keep or cancel a show based on a lot of factors, including viewership rates, popularity with the times, and, of course, whether the show is actually making any money.

Here, we’ll tell you the status of your favorite shows—namely, whether they’ve been renewed or canceled, plus just how much the stars earn, how some shows have production costs upward of $1 million per episode, and whether these factors led to the show’s untimely demise.

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If your show is canceled, don’t be too down, as there might be a spinoff in the works sometime in the future. They might even reboot it entirely. After all, it’s all about bringing in revenue and the entertainment business has that down to a fine art – most of the time, anyway. Read on to find out the status of your screen gem.

1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 14
Est. Production Cost: $2 million per episode*

The sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia started out as a very low-budget production, with production costs per half-hour reaching only about $550K. Now, the cost per episode is about $2 million. The show was developed by two of its main characters, Rob McElhenney (who plays Mac) and Glenn Howerton (who plays Dennis).

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia @alwayssunny / Facebook.comIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia @alwayssunny / Facebook.com

The show first aired on FXX back in 2005 (which is actually owned by Disney), and it’s still going strong. In fact, at the end of 2020, the series was renewed for at least three more seasons. Danny DeVito, the most famous name on the show, estimates that he only made $70K per season during the first few seasons.

That’s amazingly low considering Danny DeVito has a net worth of $70 million. At his peak, DeVito was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. When he starred in Get Shorty alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger he helped make the studio $115 million against a budget of just $30 million.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 7
Est. Production Cost: $2 million per episode*

The cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine makes an estimated $100,000 per episode, though negotiations are underway for a pay raise. That’s likely because the series was canceled on one network – but managed to get picked up for renewal on another network.

The show stars Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, a police officer in Brooklyn. It is a comedic take on the usual cop show, and it currently airs on TBS. Fans will be happy to learn that the series has gotten not one, but two new seasons greenlit.

Thanks to his work in the movie industry and his healthy salary from the show, Andy Samberg is now worth $15 million. The Golden Globe-winning actor has continued to steadily work since the show premiered in 2016. He’s clearly making the most of his boosted profile and making as much money as he can while he can!

Status: Canceled
Seasons: 9
Est. Production Cost: $3.5 million per episode*

Last Man Standing is a sitcom that features Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, a married dad who works at a sporting goods store. The premise is similar to Allen’s other show, Home Improvement, which was canceled in 1999. The first episode of Last Man Standing, written by Michael Shipley, aired on October 11, 2011.

Last Man Standing has seven seasons so far, and it was actually slated to be canceled after the sixth season. However, viewers put together a petition that garnered over half a million signatures, sent it to 20th Century Fox Television, and earned the show another greenlight.

Even the greatest shows have to come to an end at some point, though. The network announced that the series would be drawing to a close with its final ninth season which premiered on January 3, 2021, much to the disappointment of fans.

4. Homeland

Status: Canceled
Seasons: 8
Est. Production Cost: $45 million per season*

Claire Danes has come a long way since playing a starry-eyed Juliet in Baz Luhrmann’s retelling of the Shakespeare play in the 1990s. The actress landed the lead part of Homeland’s CIA agent Carrie Mathison in 2011, airing on Showtime. The show also stars Damian Lewis opposite Danes as POW-turned terrorist-turned-CIA Nicholas Brody.

Together, the two actors propel this spy thriller forward, but come 2020, they’ll be making their money elsewhere. Danes and Lewis reportedly get around $450,000 per episode for their efforts. That’s roughly $5 million per season. With salaries as big as that, it’s hard to imagine how large the production budget must be.

The network (which is actually owned by Viacom) has made sure viewers don’t get bored quickly by mixing up the shooting locations from Berlin to Morocco to New York City to Cape Town in South Africa. That being said, a show of this caliber doesn’t come cheap. Showtime pays $3 million for each 55-minute long episode.

5. This Is Us

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 5
Est. Production Cost: $2 million per episode*

This Is Us is a tearjerker drama starring Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz and other stars. The show has been so popular that its cast has seen a whopping 425% increase in salary since it began. This Is Us is a riveting chronicle of various characters embroiled in their own complex family drama, like a soap opera for the modern era.

It has won a SAG Award, among other accolades. The show is filmed in Los Angeles, and it airs on NBC, a network that is no doubt delighted to have a show that can compete with Fox’s impressive lineup. The show has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thankfully, this show isn’t showing signs of stopping yet. Chrissy Metz has previously admitted that she had just 81 cents in her bank account when the show started but is now set to make $4.5 million per season. We don’t know exactly how much NBC pays per episode to keep This Is Us on the air, but we’re betting it’s much more than a couple of million.

6. Stranger Things

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 3
Est. Production Cost: $8 million per episode*

Stranger Things has become a hugely popular show across the world. The Netflix series has three seasons so far, and it first aired in 2016. After a stellar first season, the series greatly expanded its world – deepening the addiction to the 1980s throwback series.

The young stars of the show (Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and more) have seen their salaries grow from just $30,000 an episode at first to a massive $250,000 per episode. Brown is making even more than that, reportedly.

While the young cast were mainly still making $250,000 each, Millie took home $350,000, the same amount as the show’s adult stars Winona Ryder and David Harbour. Thankfully, Netflix itself is worth close to $200 billion so the streaming service can afford to shell out a few bucks for its most lucrative stars.

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7. The Handmaid’s Tale

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 3
Est. Production Cost: $10 million per episode*

The Handmaid’s Tale is based on a novel by Margaret Atwood. This dystopian series stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, and Alexis Bledel – and is widely hailed for its uncomfortable vision of the future. It airs on Hulu, and it is set to return for a fourth and a fifth season thanks to how profitable it is.

The Handmaid’s Tale is actually based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. It was originally published in the 1980s, but it didn’t get optioned for a show until late 2016, right around the time when production began.The series is currently streaming on Hulu, which happens to be owned by none other than Disney.

This isn’t the first time that Elisabeth Moss has been part of a huge TV phenomenon. Just a few years ago the actress starred as Peggy Olsen in AMC’s hit series Mad Men. Back then, Moss earned $75,000 per episode when the series lead Jon Hamm took home $250,000.

8. The Crown

Status: Canceled (Season 6 will be the last)
Seasons: 5
Est. Production Cost: $130 million per season*

The salary count for this one is tricky, as Netflix ended up paying its cast (particularly its main actress, Claire Foy) a hefty amount in backpay – $270,000 in total. Foy, like the other female characters, was paid $40,000 per episode, but, when she found out her male co-stars made more, she brought that to Netflix’s attention.

Netflix has agreed to correct that disparity, but the exact salary figures for this next season are still under wraps. What is clear is that this show, which has four seasons out, is a massive hit. The fourth season stars Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies, as well as Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.

Although Netflix originally said season 5 would be the last viewers saw of the House of Windsor, the show will now continue into season 6. This about-turn was likely a result of just how popular the fourth season was with audiences.

9. Blue Bloods

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 11
Est. Production Cost: $1 million per episode*

The show Blue Bloods stars Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, commissioner of the NYPD and patriarch leader of the Reagan family, which is basically a multigenerational police dynasty. The show also stars Donnie Wahlberg (Mike Wahlberg’s brother) and Bridget Moynahan. The show films in New York City, and it airs on CBS.

Blue Bloods was created by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess. The CBS show has been on since 2010, and it is still going strong in terms of viewership. Tom Selleck himself has said, “I don’t think there is an endpoint. I think there is a lot of life in the show.” This statement certainly bodes well for fans.

Selleck takes home around $200,000 per episode for his part in the series, although back in the ‘80s the actor took home $500,000 for each episode of Magnum P.I. The network uses a significant amount of product placement in the series, with numerous high-end gadgets and accessories getting screen time.

10. SEAL Team

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 
4
Est. Production Cost: $4 million per episode*

SEAL Team is shaping up to be the next big hit for David Boreanaz, who earned his fame from the long-running series Bones, where he starred opposite Emily Deschanel. The show centers around the experiences of an elite unit in the Navy SEALS, following the team as they adapt to new challenges associated with difficult missions.

Other cast members include Jessica Paré, who got her start on the hit AMC show Mad Men as Don Draper’s second wife, and Max Thieriot, who has been in movies like The PacifierJumper, and Nancy DrewSEAL Team specifically centers on the US Naval Special Warfare Unit.

The show has been running on CBS for four seasons and has received generally positive reviews. It has an average rating of 70% on the website Rotten Tomatoes, which averages all reviews from viewers and critics alike. With that being said, it could be a while before this show gets the chop.

11. Ozark

Status: Canceled
Seasons: 4
Est. Production Cost: $9 million per episode*

Following two acclaimed seasons of Ozark, Netflix swiftly renewed the hit show for a third season that aired in 2020. Producers had a total of five seasons planned for the sprawling crime-focused show, saying they’d “always talked about it as five seasons” from the very beginning. Sadly, it didn’t quite go to plan.

Netflix renewed the show for a fourth and final season, devastating viewers and critics who wanted to stick with the Byrde family for a little while longer. The streaming titan didn’t give an explicit reason for the cancelation, but it could be that showrunners simply wanted to go out on a high.

Ozark features Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as a couple who move their kids from Chicago to the middle of nowhere in the Ozarks. They’re not just there for a vacation, however; Bateman’s character is soon forced to launder drug money.

12. NCIS: Los Angeles

Status: Renewed
Seasons: 12
Est. Production Cost: $5 million per episode*

The star-studded spinoff of the original NCIS is a rather ambitious show, tackling the combination of military and police drama with ease. It’s been running for 12 seasons, and with over 270 episodes it’s pretty clear that it’s a big win with the American TV-watching public.

In the CBS series, Chris O’Donnell plays a legendary agent who heads up an undercover team within the NCIS. While there is no actual NCIS branch in Los Angeles, viewers are more than ready to suspend their disbelief to tune in every week to see what O’Donnell’s character is up to.

NCIS: Los Angeles has a great legacy behind it and a strong fanbase that will likely propel it forward for years to come. However, TV fans know as well as actors that longevity is a privilege and not a given right in the entertainment business. Every season renewal is a blessing!

13. Lucifer

Status: Canceled
Seasons: 6
Est. Production Cost: $92 million per season*

Tom Ellis went from a relatively unknown British actor to a heartthrob sensation after landing the role of Lucifer Morningstar. The Fox series is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and gained quite the cult following. Originally, Lucifer was canceled fairly early on in season three, but an impassioned fan campaign and the #SaveLucifer hashtag caused Warner Bros. to sell it to Netflix.

Subsequently, the cast found themselves with work for another two seasons, but season 6 will be the last outing. After the final 10-episode arc airs in 2021, Tom Ellis will be free as a bird to charm casting directors with his devilish grin.

Even though Lucifer has had a fairly short lifespan compared to other hit Netflix shows, the streaming service didn’t scrimp on production costs. Each episode of the series costs $4 million to make, which might be why it’s being wrapped after season 6. After all, shows tend to get more expensive, not less.

14. FBI

Status: Renewed
Seasons:
 3
Est. Production Cost: 
$5-$7 million per episode*

Dick Wolf, the same creator behind the Law & Order franchise, recently partnered with Craig Turk to create FBI. FBI has aired on CBS for three seasons. While there is no word on a fourth outing, there’s no sign it’s coming to an end, either. The series stars Missy Peregrym, Zeeko Zaki, Jeremy Sisto, Ebonee Noel and more.

FBI @TVReleaseDates/Twitter.comFBI @TVReleaseDates/Twitter.com

FBI focuses on the inner workings of the FBI office in New York. The CBS show focuses on major crimes that occur (or are about to occur), and the team’s attempts to stop and/or solve them. FBI has done reasonably well in the critical reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the show a 53% for the first season. The review aggregator’s consensus was that FBI had a “compelling cast” and an “adrenaline-spiking” plot. That being said, not all critics think the series has what it takes to become a true legend. Only time will tell.