American Idol is the most profitable reality show around by a mile, according to a report by Forbes.com's Penelope Patsuris.
The Fox money machine made a whopping $260.7 million in elevating Fantasia to the top spot. That was followed in distant second by CBS' Survivor: Pearl Island at $73.1 million; NBC's The Apprentice, $53.945 million; The Bachelor, $38.2 million, and The Bachelorette, $27.7 million.
Patsuris points out that while Idol benefitted from the highest 30-second price at $414,700 per, it also aired at least twice a week and ran for longer than the other shows.
For more on the Forbes run-down, including spot prices for the top shows, see http://www.forbes.com/2004/09/07/cx_pp_0907realitytv.html