The television networks are spending “unprecedented amounts of money” to get top movie writer-producers and actors in their summer programming, reports the Los Angeles Times.
John Malkovich is starring as Blackbeard on NBC, while CBS will debut the Steven Spielberg-produced drama “Extant,” which stars Halle Berry. Director Guillermo del Toro is behind the FX vampire series “The Strain,” whose pilot alone cost $9 million, the story adds.
“Summer used to be network television's dead zone, stocked with repeats and cheap reality shows, and it was a place to bury canceled series,” the story says.
“That left an opening for the cable networks, which saw a chance to gain viewers without having to go up against the networks' best new shows in the fall, using summer to launch hit programs such as ‘Mad Men,’” the report adds.
That’s changing, with the broadcasters seeking to get in on the summer action. CBS debuted Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” last summer, finding success that has helped redefine the TV season, the story adds.
The piece notes: “All the TV sizzle, however, carries significant risks. Networks are shelling out big money for these summer dramas, with Fox's summertime reboot of ’24’ with Kiefer Sutherland topping $4 million per episode in total production costs, according to industry insiders. ‘Extant’ costs nearly that much. That matches the tab for the most expensive shows during the regular season.”