DATA REPORT: Historical Unit Cost Analysis for Will & Grace Reboot

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DATA SOURCE: SQAD MediaCosts: National (NetCosts)

Our Data SQAD Team has pulled historical cost data (2004-2006 season) for the NBC juggernaut, Will & Grace to see where the show was sitting for ad values compared to the competition; and to see how those same numbers would compete in the current TV landscape.

The data in this report is showing the AVERAGE :30sec AD COST for each of the programs listed, averaged across the date range indicated. When comparing ad costs for shows across different years, ad costs for those programs have been adjusted for inflation to reflect 2017 rates in order to create parity and consistency.

IN THIS REPORT:

WILL & GRACE

V.S. TOP SITCOMS ON MAJOR NETWORKS – 04/05 SEASON

Reviewing data from the second to last season of Will & Grace, we see that among highest rated sitcoms on broadcast TV of the time, Will & Grace came out on top for average unit costs for a 30 second ad during the Fall 2004 season. Although it had been seeing declining ratings over the previous 3 seasons, it dominated with an average ad cost of $325,619 – with Everybody Loves Raymond taking second place with an average cost of $268,163, and Two and a Half Men following closely behind at $266,167.

Looking at the second half of the season (Winter/Spring 2005), ratings continued to decline but Will & Grace again took first place with an average unit cost of $377,733. Second and third place remained the same, as well – Everybody Loves Raymond had an average unit cost of $298,851 and Two and a Half Men had $234,260.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following sitcoms for the 2004-2005 season:

PROGRAM FALL 2004 SPRING 2005
Arrested Development $188,144 $180,625
Two & A Half Men $266,167 $234,260
Everybody Loves Raymond $268,163 $298,581
George Lopez Show $117,689 $102,585
My Wife & Kids $127,867 $100,026
Will & Grace $325,619 $377,733
 
 

WILL & GRACE

V.S. TOP SITCOMS ON MAJOR NETWORKS – 05/06 SEASON

For Will & Grace’s final season, we compared it against other top sitcoms on broadcast TV and discovered that falling viewership had an impact on its place as top earner for comedies. Will & Grace came in second during the Fall 2005 season with an average unit cost of $186,883, right behind Two and a Half Men ($267,451). That ‘70s Show and The Office were neck and neck after Will & Grace, with average unit costs of $170,919 and $171,773, respectively.

As we transitioned into the back half of the season, average unit costs for Will & Grace jumped nearly 30% from the fall season to $242,500 – keeping it in second place behind Two and a Half Men ($261,927), and fending off challenges from The Office and How I Met Your Mother.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following sitcoms for the 2005-2006 season:

PROGRAM FALL 2005 SPRING 2006
According To Jim $126,806 $99,919
Bernie Mac $85,029 $92,388
How I Met Your Mother $159,014 $185,827
King of Queens $154,829 $167,013
That 70’s Show $170,919 $137,331
Two & A Half Men $267,451 $261,927
Will & Grace $186,883 $242,500
The Office $171,773 $198,298
 
 

WILL & GRACE

TOP SITCOMS TREND REPORT – 04 – 06 SEASON

Pulling back to view the trends over the last two seasons of the show, the year/year comparison trend shows Will & Grace experienced a dip during its last season, 2005-2006, coming in second for average unit costs at $242,500, behind Two & A Half Men ($261,927). Despite the drop, it still topped popular shows of the time like King of Queens ($167,013), That ‘70s Show ($137,331), and According to Jim ($99,919).

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following sitcoms for the 2004-2006 season:

PROGRAM FALL 2004 SPRING 2005 FALL 2005 SPRING 2006
According To Jim $127,115 $117,227 $126,806 $99,919
Bernie Mac $164,597 $165,875 $86,029 $92,388
George Lopez Show $117,689 $102,585 $114,843 $85,461
King of Queens $126,848 $140,946 $154,829 $167,013
Still Standing $149,108 $148,613 $93,928 $73,858
That 70’s Show $187,113 $218,802 $170,919 $137,331
Two & A Half Men $266,167 $234,260 $267,451 $261,927
Will & Grace $325,619 $377,733 $186,883 $242,500
 
 

WILL & GRACE

V.S. TOP SITCOM FINALES

For perspective, we pulled the ad cost numbers for the finale episode of other popular comedies that said goodbye since Will & Grace dropped off the air, and equalized their average :30 costs for inflation. Of these finale broadcasts, Will & Grace saw the highest average unit cost of $574,233. King of Queens (finale May 14th, 2007) came in second at $483,245 and How I Met Your Mother (finale March 31st, 2013) in third with an average cost of $460,557.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared the series finale show of Will & Grace to finale shows of other sitcoms on the major broadcasting networks, adjusting all the costs for inflation to reflect 2017 rates:

PROGRAM AIR DATE AVG :30 ADJ. INFLATION (2017)
How I Met Your Mother March 2014 $444,082 $460,557
King of Queens May 2007 $408,103 $483,245
Ugly Betty April 2010 $117,571 $132,378
The Office May 2013 $356,000 $375,196
Arrested Development February 2006 $98,000 $119,349
Scrubs March 2010 $166,600 $189,890
That 70’s Show May 2006 $182,500 $222,258
Will & Grace May 2006 $471,513 $574,233
 
 

WILL & GRACE

V.S. CURRENT RUNNING SHOWS – Fall 2016

Fall 2016 NBC Dramas

When considering the motivations for NBC’s resurrection of Will & Grace, it’s interesting to look at the current averages for :30 ads for NBC’s 60 min dramas currently running on the network. When adjusted for inflation, we see that the average :30 ad value of the worst rated season (‘05/’06) of Will & Grace is standing in a commanding position in the field, taking second, right after the juggernaut This Is Us.

While comparing the earning potential of a 30 minute sitcom against NBC’s 60 minute dramas is not a perfect comparison, it illustrates the earning potential NBC may be expecting with this reboot.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following NBC dramas running in the Fall 2016 season:

PROGRAM AVG. :30
Chicago Fire $147,676
Law & Order: SVU $87,470
The Blacklist $150,940
This is Us $272,702
Will & Grace* $227,596
 
 

Fall 2016 Comedies

When we look at the data from the top rated broadcast TV comedies airing in the Fall of 2016, we compared average unit costs during Will & Grace’s last season (adjusted for inflation) and found that the adjusted average :30 from their lowest rated season ($227,596) comes in second, right behind Big Bang Theory ($281,225). Seeing that the average :30 for the final season of Will & Grace is beating popular shows like Modern Family ($209,656) and Kevin Can Wait ($143,808), it’s reasonable to surmise that NBC sees the reboot as a strong competitor for ad dollars.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following comedies running in the Fall 2016 season:

PROGRAM AVG. :30
Big Bang Theory $281,225
Black-ish $138,232
Fresh Off The Boat $106,046
Kevin Can Wait $143,808
Life In Pieces $128,865
Modern Family $209,656
Mom $113,103
New Girl $100,676
Superstore $105,249
The Good Place $100,891
The Last Man On Earth $115,347
The Middle $132,572
Will & Grace* $227,596
 
 

WILL & GRACE

V.S. CURRENT RUNNING SHOWS – Spring 2017

Spring 2017 NBC Dramas

Looking at the back half of the 16/17 television season, we see that the adjusted average :30 for Will & Grace ($295,329) has taken the leading position among NBC’s most-valuable drama programming, beating out all of the 60 min dramas on the network including the breakout hit, This Is Us ($256,030). Of course, the bump in average :30 unit costs for Will & Grace in 2006, which pushed it over the top, can be attributed to the series ramping towards its finale in 2006.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following NBC dramas running in the Spring 2017 season:

PROGRAM AVG. :30
Chicago Fire $122,352
Law & Order: SVU $83,886
The Blacklist $130,058
This is Us $256,030
Will & Grace* $265,329
 
 

Spring 2017 Comedies

Looking at the second half of the 16/17 season, against a heavily packed broadcast TV roster of 30 min comedies, Will & Grace’s adjusted average :30 ad rates from their final (and lowest rated season) puts them at the top of the heap; ahead of the Big Bang Theory ($214,025) and Modern Family ($146,543) with an average (adjusted for inflation) unit cost of $295,329.

Even when comparing the average :30 unit cost of the lowest rated season of Will & Grace, against the top money-maker comedies on TV today, it’s easy to see that NBC had good reason to reboot this series – if only to regain a portion of the earning potential of the original series.

COMPARISON DATA:

We compared Will & Grace to the following broadcast TV comedies running in the Spring 2017 season:

PROGRAM AVG. :30
Big Bang Theory $214,025
Black-ish $116,557
Fresh Off The Boat $94,538
Kevin Can Wait $106,708
Life In Pieces $92,952
Modern Family $146,543
Mom $87,749
New Girl $137,417
Superstore $90,211
The Last Man On Earth $101,049
The Middle $113,251
Will & Grace* $295,329
 
 
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