Question 2 – Are animated shows cheaper to make than reality shows?

Rick and Morty is the only current animated show I watch right now.  I think I’m starting to lose interest in it.  The last season was too whiny.  I feel that as a creator you just need to accept that your fanbase is mostly assholes and resist the urge to try to “fight back” against them.  Maybe technically I also watch Venture Brothers but since they only make one episode every three years and always say the show is cancelled I’m not sure what that means.  I still like it when it happens.  Oh, I also watch American Dad sometimes.  I never go out of my way to see but they run it all the time on TBS so I check it out most weeks. 

I used to watch the Simpsons but even good new episodes I don’t really care about because enough.  I liked Futurama, I wish they still made that.  I used to watch South Park and Family Guy both but I have grown to loath them.  Any time they come on the TV lunge for the remote because even hearing the theme song is like nails on a chalkboard to me now.  I can understand why I liked South Park when I was younger, and I still like some episodes but mostly its desire to provoke people has driven me away.  Family Guy is garbage and I hate it.  Looking back I don’t know why I ever liked it.  South Park at its best does that thing where you use comedy to hide the fact that you’re calling people out.  Like when a stand-up jokes about how we care more about our retirement account than human rights atrocities in Southeast Asia.  It’s a fun way for us to briefly think about how awful we are and then forget about it.  At its worst South Park is cheap bullshit about menstrual blood and pedophiles.  Family Guy is garbage and I hate it. 

For reality TV I watch the Amazing Race but it got cancelled maybe?  Seems like a season pops up randomly here and there without any schedule.  Actually no, I heard about filming being suspending for covid so it must not be cancelled.  I think they just don’t do it as much anymore.  Years ago I watched a show called Newlyweds – Nick & Jessica.  I have no idea why but I FUCKING loved that show.  I was legitimately a little sad when I heard they were getting divorced.  I can’t explain why I liked this show.  I can’t understand my motivation even a little.  You could say that it was because at the time I had never been in a relationship and I liked to see what love was like but you’d be wrong because it was a reality show – and there’s nothing real on reality TV.  I also watched the first season of survivor and really liked it but never watched it again because it’s just the same thing.  I didn’t even know it was going to be a series, I thought it was like a “special event”. 

But today’s question is about cost.  In the past three decades (man I’m old) animated shows and reality shows have proliferated like sweat on a hot South Carolina fatman because they’re cheaply made and people will watch them.  Reality shows are cheap because you don’t need writers or actors or sets – you just follow around some drunk assholes with a camera and you’re done.  Which isn’t to say that the shows aren’t scripted, just that those scripts aren’t written by writers.  Animated shows are cheap because voice actors are paid less and you don’t need sets but otherwise you have a lot of the same overhead.  One the face of the issue it seems like reality TV would be cheaper but with animated shows, crappy ones usually, you can re-use stock animation. If you really want to make a shoddy product (for kids mostly) you can use the exact same animation and just add in different voices.  That’s some sweet action.

Spending six minutes looking at the internet I learn that a low end reality show costs $100,000 an episode and an animated show costs $150,000 an episode.  Reality shows vary though and some cost up to 500k an episode whereas animated shows don’t vary much – an animated show with a lot of fight scenes and fancy bullshit might cost more but the difference isn’t huge.  So I’ll say basically they’re the same.  Compare this to even the shittiest most awful CBS sitcom which runs you a cool 3 million an episode.  Human beings are expensive even when they suck, cartoons and reality TV people are not (see what I did there?)

A while back someone figured this out and they tried to make what were essentially standard sitcoms in animated format.  It didn’t work though.  Why?  No clue.  I guess when you take the fat guy + hot wife + crazy old man formula into the animated realm it’s just too crappy for even the most banal and braindead TV viewer.  You have to add in cartoon zaniness for that to work in animation town. 

I assume with deepfake technology soon both of those formats will be gone and it will be deepfakes all the time.  You just say “I want to see Scarlett Johnson as a lady Indiana Jones searching for the lost treasure of the Mayans with Harrison Ford as her father and Carey Grant as the nazi commander Hammersmark” and then the AI will create it for you and make it.  97% of the time it will be objectively worse than things people make now but it will be liked more by the person it’s made for.  It will destroy the art form of movies and TV but that’s fine because art is destroyed all the time.  I mean its art, who cares? 

I wonder who will be famous and sell us garbage once actors and singers and athletes are no longer needed. 

In conclusion Reality TV is technically cheaper but I adjudicate it as a draw.


  1. I would rather watch the Family Guy television program than the Newlywed reality television program. Isn’t all TV garbage? I think I heard someone say that – may have been you.
    I’ve watched at least some of every season of Survivor, as it has somehow become a family tradition (mostly my wife and my father in law.)


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