Perhaps I’m the only one fascinated by this subject, but I enjoy hearing some of the lesser known details behind movie and TV productions. For example, how much does it cost to produce a single episode of a horror TV series? The big thing in Hollywood right now is to cash in on these horror movies that are made on the cheap and rake in millions of dollars, so is the same philosophy applied to TV?
Last Saturday CAA TV Lit Agent Peter Micelli attended a panel discussion at UCLA for future entertainment lawyers and let loose with some details regarding the cost of making TV shows for Netflix. I’m sure this was an unpleasant surprise for Netflix, but I imagine there’s no real harm in these figures getting out there. However, it does allow us a peek behind the curtain and it’s interesting to know that Netflix is willing to pay way more than other content providers to produce a horror themed show.
Set to premiere on April 19th, Hemlock Grove is Netflix’s next entry into self-produced content for their online distribution service. The show is set in a town full of secrets where a werewolf and the son of a wealthy family team up to uncover the truth behind a murder. It was also one of the shows briefly mentioned by Peter Micelli on Saturday where he revealed that it costs approximately $4 million per episode to produce. This isn’t even the most expensive show that Netflix is producing, but it still represents a substantial investment by the company.
In comparison, a show like the Walking Dead costs $2.75 million to make. This is after the hefty cost cutting that led to original show runner Frank Darabont leaving the show. This seems to be the general price range for shows of this nature as Supernatural costs around $2.3 million to produce. However, when you take into account how many episodes are produced per season by each series, the price difference becomes more noticeable. The latest season of Supernatural will ultimately cost around $50 million and include 22 episodes while Hemlock Grove will only be 13 episodes and cost about $52 million.
Clearly Netflix is deeply invested in the success of it’s new programs. So far they’ve done well with House of Cards which garnered a great deal of praise and attention for the company. With any luck, Hemlock Grove will be able to match the success and quality already established by Cards and become a profitable new franchise for them.