Forbes magazine has released its annual list of TV’s biggest moneymakers (this time for 2010), and in news that will surprise absolutely no one, the top two series are American Idol and Two And A Half Men (which indicates why CBS is so anxious to keep the show going, despite losing Charlie Sheen). Forbes’ list doesn’t factor in big moneymakers that are one-time events, like the Super Bowl or Oscars, and it breaks everything down to how much cash a half-hour of said program brings in. American Idol, for instance, was airing as much as 12 half hours per week last year, and all of those six half hours were bringing in an astronomical $7.11 million. (And that was DOWN from the show’s 2009 rates!) Considering the show has barely slipped from last year’s ratings, despite losing Simon Cowell, it will likely continue to be TV’s biggest moneymaker when the 2011 results are released.
From there, it’s quite a fall to Two And A Half Men, which aired but one half-hour per week in 2010 and made only $2.89 million in that half-hour. Still, that’s good enough for second place. Third place is an unexpected show, Desperate Housewives, which aired two half-hours per week in 2010 and pulled in $2.74 million in each half-hour. Grey’s Anatomy and Dancing With The Stars round out the top five, suggesting that ABC, despite having a roster of aging hits, is doing just fine in the financial department. The rest of the top ten includes some strange series, including Private Practice and Mike And Molly, but all of them more or less make sense. Forbes states that younger hits Glee and Modern Family are just outside of the top 10, and they’ll probably crack the 2011 list, given that both have risen in the ratings enough to command higher ad dollars.
The only network of the big four networks not to have a series in the top ten is NBC, which is probably flabbergasted that they didn’t make this list for The Cape, despite the fact that it a.) aired exclusively in 2011 and b.) was a huge flop. Still, the power of The Cape should push it onto all lists in perpetuity. The Cape!