It's that time of year, and Advertising Age has released its annual estimates of average spot costs for commercial time. Sunday Night Football once again came out on top at $512,367, but American Idol made up ground, commanding between $468K-$503K. I'll leave it to you to click through and check out the other shows at your leisure.
It's also that wonderful time of year where we hear "How can Glee make so much more than NCIS when NCIS has twice as many viewers (though the gap shrunk from last year)!?" and 'How can Gossip Girl command so much more than Supernatural?" There are reasons those things are true, and they almost always have to do with concentrations in particular demographics. But please also keep in mind that a.) the numbers are just estimates, and b.) those estimates were mostly (if not exclusively) derived based on ad buying from the upfronts, well before any of the ratings for this season trickled in. In the next to the last paragraph of the linked article, Advertising Age cautions that these are directional indicators, not hard negotiating fees, and that the rates may have changed by now.
Fringe was greater than Chuck (and Grimm) but all were less than Kitchen Nightmares. Ouch.