Game of Thrones cost an astronomical amount of money to make during its eight-season run on HBO. Conservatively, I think that Game of Thrones alone has driven $1.9 billion in subscription value for HBO over the last 9 years or so. Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes have both been paid megabucks in the hope that they can come up with a global smash to match HBO’s Game of Thrones. Though this is quite low compared to how much actors of other tv shows make. Looking expensive means paying for expensive props, costumes and, most of all, locations, all of them shot on film to give them the right air of opulence. The Crown was and is a big tank on British TV’s lawn: Claire Foy and Matt Smith led a vast repertory of classy thesps. It has already had a knock-on effect, too: when Nicole Kidman came to renegotiate her pay packet for season two of HBO’s Big Little Lies, the news about her Lies colleague Witherspoon’s cushy new gig helped Kidman bump herself up from $350,000 per episode to a reported $1m. All this is a result of a clear diktat issued by Jeff Bezos in 2017: get me the new Game of Thrones. Screw goulash', No more mellow Yellow: why Coldplay are pop's weirdest band, Death Stranding: Hideo Kojima on making the year's most divisive game, This week’s best home entertainment: from The Crown to I'm a Celebrity, Tracks of the week reviewed: Mura Masa ft Slowthai, Jessie Ware and Melanie C, Brexitcast: TV for people who can recite their credit score from memory, Death plot for cuties: how Marissa’s murder ended The OC, Orville Peck: ‘I grew up feeling alienated – so I became a cowboy’. While late-period Thrones did not skimp on its effects, the main reasons for its swollen budget were old-school: it sent hordes of performers and a huge crew to far-flung locations (Malta, Iceland, Croatia) and kept them there for months. Plus, while it tended to save money by killing as many leads as possible, by the end it still had five actors whose pay rises had left them making $500,000 per episode each.Talent 5/5 Effects 4/5 Locations 4/5 Estimated total $630m, Netflix’s commitment to invest an estimated $130m in two seasons of The Crown was, when it launched in 2017, a huge statement of intent, even if it wasn’t quite the most expensive show on TV on a per-episode basis. Last week saw the US unveiling of Disney+, which will offer three new Marvel series and, in The Mandalorian, a luxurious TV addition to the Star Wars universe. The HBO hit 'Game of Thrones' is one of the most expensive shows on TV. Weiss signed a $200 million deal with Netflix this week. But Favreau has a track record of delivering hits, so he would command a massive fee, and he is known for cutting-edge effects, which here include wholesale digital creations that can be described as “like The Phantom Menace, but not rubbish because that was 20 years ago”. If there is a crash coming, it is some way off. The inflation is intensified by the fact that, for many of the companies entering the streaming race, getting punters to become captive members of the brand family is more important than directly making a profit from TV. After a failed Game of Thrones pilot in 2009, HBO ordered an extensive re-shoot before the series officially launched in 2011. For comparison, the BBC’s drama commissioning guide lists £1m ($1.3m) as its top price for an hour of “premium” drama. Logan’s apartment is a sound stage but a lot of the settings are unfakeably plush: the English castle for the season one wedding and the plethora of posh venues in Manhattan are all premium rentals. There is much more at stake here than winning ratings battles or scooping up Emmys. Take the nine-minute scene in which Elizabeth and Philip wed. The Hungarian boar hunt was actually shot on Long Island, but Long Island stately homes are not shabby. Its two big openers, The Morning Show and See, are both thought to cost around the same as the final season of Game of Thrones. The show may end up costing nearer to $15m per episode and is Disney’s biggest calling card as it enters the online arena. In the famous words of Amazon head Jeff Bezos: “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.” Apple is giving away a year of TV+ to people who buy a new iPhone or other Apple device.