View Full Version : How much does it cost to make an SG-1 episode!

August 25th, 2006, 12:29 AM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know the cost of making an SG-1 episode?

Here are some costs for other shows I managed to find on the internet, most are costs in the last or later seasons, also the 2 hour premiers for some of these shows cost more:

Farscape $1.5 million per episode.

Enterprise $1.5 million per episode.

Star Trek: TNG $1.5 million per episode.

Star Trek: DS9 $1.5 million per episode.

BSG The Classic Series $0.75 million per episode.

Somehow it seems that $1.5 million is a magic number for the recent scifi genre shows. Also some average figures for other types of shows:

A scripted drama can rack up production costs of $500,000 to as high as $2 million per episode. Sitcoms can cost anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 per episode, while non-scripted shows can cost as little as $200,000.

Here is an interesting analysis of the reason why some networks are going with original series instead of airing shows owned by other companies, seems to be the direction Sci-Fi is taking (old article though):


Lord of Nightmares
August 25th, 2006, 12:46 AM
Estimated to be between $1.4-2.0 million per episode for the most current season, although I'm not sure if this includes marketing and other miscellaneous expenses.

August 25th, 2006, 12:58 AM
Alright, found the answer and also an interesting article:

Stargate SG-1 is a mature series and production costs continue to mount: it's budgeted for at least $2 million U.S. per episode. Tax breaks remain in place, but the costs advantages of filming in Vancouver have evaporated due to unfavorable exchange rates.

This article is dated May, 2006, a few months old, some highlights:

Stern, the Sci-Fi guy who said MGM cannot air new SG1 episodes on US networks .. here is his quoet a few months ago:

“I think what Stargate, and similar shows that last this long, [have] is a family that you want to see every week and invite into your living room,” Stern said. “It sounds a little corny, but ultimately it really comes down to that. It's all about great storytelling with characters you love.”

In any case, Sci Fi was the No. 1 cable network for the advertiser-desired 18-to-49 age group in SG1's timeslot, Fridays from 8 to 9 p.m., for the 10 weeks the program aired in the quarter.

Stern believes some of the show's tech-savvy, toy-loving, time-shifting audience gets missed in ratings compilations. “Part of it is the DVR,” he explains, citing digital video recording devices. “Nielsen's sampling is not representative of the larger universe yet. They're sampling 3% and the larger [DVR] universe is something like 10 to 13%.”

In February, Variety reported that the NBC broadcast network's ratings woes are filtering across to the NBC Universal-owned cable networks, and that such cable properties as USA Network, Bravo and Sci Fi are being pressured to favor NBC Universal Television Studios-produced content, thereby keeping revenue in-house.

Asked how these factors weigh on the future for Stargate SG-1 (owned and financed by MGM), Stern is emphatic. “There's absolutely zero, never, any pressure from anybody — and I'll tell you this straight — to make a decision on a show based on whether it's [an NBC Universal] project at all. Period. We and Bonnie Hammer have full latitude to do what she thinks she needs to do and what we think is best for our air.”

“This show has always had budgetary challenges,” he continues. “This show has always been trying to do and achieve so much more than it was budgeted to do. [Show runners Brad Wright and Rob Cooper] have shown themselves particularly adept at squeezing every dime out of that Canadian dollar.”

Stern says MGM actually has budgeted more for the show (and, in so doing, increased the gap between the show's actual cost and the license fee Sci Fi pays, a deficit the studio figures to regain later from syndication airings, DVD sales and other sources). He also points out that the studio paid to bring in additional big-name cast members Black, Browder and Beau Bridges.

Chatter about striking the Stargate SG-1 sets any time soon has thankfully died down. Four years ago, Cooper wrote the last season-six episode as the series finale, certain the production was destined to wrap.

Instead, Sci Fi reupped, and ratings grew. Stargate SG-1 cannot continue indefinitely, in Cooper's view.

“The economics of producing a show make it impossible,” he warns. “The simple fact is that salaries go up incrementally as seasons continue. At some point, it just reaches the place where there's no profit to be made.”

But MGM has big plans. Executive vice president Charles Cohen (see related story) says MGM “intends” to develop a theatrical movie “derived from the series over the last 10 years” that would ideally “dovetail” into a third Stargate television show.

Theatricals would “not in any way impair” SG1's television run, he asserts. He believes it's possible for three Stargate series to air concurrently, not unlike the Law & Order franchise. “If you look at SG-1 — with bringing in Claudia [Black], Ben [Browder] and Beau [Bridges] — we've retooled the series with it still being SG-1. I'd like to see SG-1 go another 10 years. I love the show. I'd like to keep it on forever and keep adding to it.”

“It's very ambitious,” Cohen admits, then chuckles. “Brad and Rob will cringe.”

Stargate SG-1 is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.'s new best friend, if you gauge it by the enthusiasm expressed by studio executive vice president Charles Cohen.

Since MGM's sale to an investment group last year, the sci-fi franchise has become “much more important to MGM than it had been viewed before the sale,” according to Cohen, who said wasn't actively involved with the show until the studio's new ownership came in.

“Stargate on the television side represents the same type of dynamic franchise [as the James Bond movies] for us,” Cohen says. “It's enormously important both in terms of what it contributes financially but also what it does for our image.”

These days, MGM co-produces films with Sony, so it ends up owning only 50% (at most) of what's produced. “We really aren't making a whole lot of new product that we own and finance 100%,” Cohen explains. “But Stargate we own and finance 100%, and we're very supportive of it. We're putting more money into the shows. It's very important to us that this series not only continue but maintain or exceed the quality of what came before. For instance, we're putting Richard Dean Anderson back in the show. We felt it was great for the fan base. That required some money that we hadn't budgeted, but we were very happy to spend.”

Stargate SG-1 helps keep the MGM name “in front of millions,” Cohen says. “And it helps drive other MGM products. It opens a lot of doors. People want to meet with you. It's a quality product they need to have."

Erm did I just quote the whole thing hehe anyways the whole article is here:


August 25th, 2006, 01:57 AM
An SG1 episode now costs $US2.2M, its however not fair to compare it to TNG and DS9 as they finished up years ago - and the costs of production as well as inflation have significantly increased.


Admiral Mappalazarou
August 25th, 2006, 01:58 AM
10p. No wait - 20!!! TWENTY!!!!

August 25th, 2006, 02:05 AM
So, because of the exchangerate, it doesn't matter anymore where you film it, Canada or US, it's just as expensive. That's too bad, I hope it al shifts back, the rate 'n stuff..