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In terms of Cable Television, say Discovery or History, in today's environment the networks are ordering an average of 3 episodes. A larger order may be as much as six episodes. Gone are the days of 13 to 20 episodes. There is a catch however, the Networks like to get agreements for 3 shows, and a 5 year fee lock up for the talent, but buried deep within those contracts are "hooks" which allow the Cable (and Broadcast) Networks, once they have aired and "tested" the first few episodes, re-edit any footage they shot and make more episodes and then run those episodes and NOT pay anymore fees to the talent or developers. For example: Discovery did a 1-3 show opener with Gold Rush. Huge hit, but since they had reedit and total run rights they did an immediate 10 more and did not pay Todd and his crew a single more cent.

So, say the talent was paid $10,000 for their 3 shows. Not bad $3333.33 for the show for talent fees. But if there were 6 talent, then they each received $555.55 per episode, but then if the network took the same footage acquired and shot 10 more shows then the talent really on was paid $256.41 an episode aired. And that's about average.

Now, as far as the Networks, they want production companies they regularly work with. Why is that? Trust? Confidence? No, it's more that each Network, regardless of the show, gets also dropped in as Executive Producers and 10% of the budget goes back to the "company". Thus the company itself receives $100,000 per episode of Gold Rush's $1,000,000 per show budget, but yet Todd and guys share the $250 per episode.

So, be prepared IF you even get into development, regardless what you really think its worth and how many shows it should be, it will be bought for cheap, claimed to be only 3 shows, and then - if it works they try to get 10 or more episodes out of the same footage shot without a penny more to the developers or talent. It's an insiders game.

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Q: What is the average amount of episodes in a reality show?
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