Netflix TV Episodes Cost $3.8M-$4.5M: CAA

CAA TV lit agent Peter Micelli was surprisingly forthcoming about how Netflix is outspending the broadcast networks on high-end hour-long TV series. During a panel discussion Saturday at the annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium for showbiz lawyers, he spoke about the “huge” budgets behind some of the Netflix drama series. He said the cheapest show is $3.8 million an episode and House of Cards started at $4.5 million with executive producer David Fincher taking it “way above that”. According to Micelli, the next series Hemlock Grove is costing $4 million an episode, while Orange Is The New Black is just under $4 million as well. (CAA sold some of the shows to Netflix but Micelli later clarified for Variety that these numbers were only his estimates.) Micelli said Netflix, whose deals are structured to cover multiple regions around the world, will control each series for 4 years exclusively and then re-sell them to a linear cable channel. Micelli expects Microsoft’s XBox whose studio is led by CBS vet Nancy Tellem to compete with Netflix for high-end programming. But not necessarily Amazon Studios which is looking at a smaller scale – comedies for $1 million an episode. Also programming will be Redbox and Verizon via Redbox Instant By Verizon. Micelli further forecast that TNT and USA will not buy the reruns like they once did. Meanwhile, moderator Craig Emanuel, a partner at Loeb & Loeb, said the number of TV housekeeping and overall deals was down – with everyone except high-end players taking pay cuts.

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