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Ad Rates for 'American Idol' Plummet, Altering List of TV's Priciest Shows Ad Age

Advertising prices for "American Idol" have plunged, ending the show's five-year dominance in ad rates and allowing NBC's "Sunday Night Football" to run off with the title for the highest-priced inventory, writes Brian Steinberg in Advertising Age.

"Last year, 'Sunday Night Football' and 'American Idol' were virtually neck and neck for top cost, but the average cost of a 30-second spot in 'Sunday Night Football' in the 2012-2013 TV season is a budget-busting $545,142, up from $512,367 last season, according to Ad Age's figures," Steinberg notes.

He continues: "Meanwhile, the average cost of a 30-second spot in the Wednesday edition of 'Idol' plummeted from $502,900 last season to $340,825. Even less expensive is the results show: The average cost of a 30-second ad in Thursday's 'Idol' is $296,002, down from $468,100 last season, according to the survey."

While ad prices for "American Idol" usually increase as the show moves toward its final weeks, the survey indicates that the show is now "a clear second to football," the story notes.

Another surprise in the survey is the gains made by the Fox comedy "New Girl." The show has climbed to fourth place with an average cost of $320,940 for a 30-second ad, just below television's third-priciest show, ABC's "Modern Family," which commands $330,908 for a TV spot.

"In fact, seven out of the top 10 shows in the survey are comedies, suggesting that the consumers advertisers covet the most -- audiences between the age of 18 and 49 -- are looking for laughs," Steinberg notes.