One of the biggest TV shows of all time started on a budget of just $100

Aisha Nozari

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One of the biggest TV shows of all time started on a budget of just $100

Featured Image Credit: 20th Television

It’s the crème de la crème of scuzzy sitcoms, and now fifteen seasons in, costs around $1.5 million per episode to make. 

We’re talking about It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the anarchic show about five pals who own an Irish bar in Philly.

Always Sunny has had more seasons than any other live-action comedy series in America’s history and packs as much of a punch as it did back in 2005 when it first aired on FX.

Always Sunny has become one of the longest running series in history. Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo
Always Sunny has become one of the longest running series in history. Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Created by Rob McElhenney and produced by McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day (all of whom star in the show alongside Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito), the show’s come a long way since its humble beginnings.

McElhenney pitched Always Sunny in 2004, showing network executives a 26-minute short called Charlie Has Cancer.

Filmed on a camcorder, the pilot saw McElhenney, Day and Howerton play self-absorbed actors vying for the same role as a terminally ill patient.

Day’s character even faked having cancer to try and up his chances of landing the gig by immersing himself in the role.

Nobody was paid for their work on the pilot - which was also written and directed by McElhenney - and the only costs were pizza and the camcorder the pilot was shot on. The total sum? $100.

Back in December 2020, Always Sunny was renewed for four more seasons, meaning the show will at least run through to season 18.

But for his most recent project, McElhenney swapped out Day and Howerton for another A-list funnyman, Canada’s very own Ryan Reynolds. 

The show costs around $1.5 million per episode to make. Credit: Album / Alamy Stock Photo
The show costs around $1.5 million per episode to make. Credit: Album / Alamy Stock Photo

The pair teamed up for their Disney+ documentary Welcome to Wrexham, which charts the stars’ unlikely ownership of Wrexham AFC football club.

McElhenney and Reynolds bought the Wrexham Red Dragons - a struggling team in the National League and the oldest pro football club in Wales - back in 2020.

The plan was for them to create an underdog story everyone can root for, but the worry is that neither of the Hollywood actors have experience working in footy or with each other.

Welcome to Wrexham’s official synopsis reads: "Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) bought the third-oldest professional football club in the world.

"It is a Welsh team in the town Wrexham and the team is currently on the brink of dissolution.

"Welcome to Wrexham is a docuseries tracking the dreams and worries of Wrexham, a working-class town in North Wales, UK, as two Hollywood stars take ownership of the town’s historic yet struggling football club."

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Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Celebrity

Aisha Nozari
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