Build Your Own Hit TV Show

Build Your Own Hit TV Show

Can you create the perfect TV show?

Over at The Ringer, the staff was reviewing the recent list of the highest paid actors on television. They ruminated on the idea of how to cast for shows, manage a budget and still have a successful TV show. So, they created a game.

It’s time to put your (fake) money where your mouth is. Here’s the game: Can you build a hit TV show? And here’s the catch: There’s a budget. $250, to be exact. That’s the budget for your entire show.

We took Variety’s list and hacked off a handful of zeroes — now, it’ll cost you $100 to cast the likes of, uh, Johnny Galecki, and $6 ($6!) for Gina Rodriguez. There are only three rules:

1. Each show needs at least three actors, and at least one setting and time period. Feel free to add more, but it will cost you. (If you want multiple locations, you’ve got to pay for both.)
2. If you want to add any special features (dinosaurs, giant battles, a fancy director, etc.), those will cost you as well.
3. The sum total of your show can’t exceed $250.

This sounded like a ton of fun, so I attempted to come up with a show using these parameters. The full list of actors, setting, time period, special effects, and more can be found at The Ringer article.

Here’s the show I put together:

Planet X

Jamie Xavier (Joel Kinnaman) is the owner of Planet X, a cool comic book store in Chicago. Louis Layne (Jonah Hill) also works in the store and is Jamie’s best friend. Our story begins when Zoe Rebouché (Emma Stone), Jamie’s “one that got away,” walks into the store running away from her fiancé (guest star Kiefer Sutherland), who may or may not be with a secret spy organization. The audience is left wondering if Zoe is running away from more than just a jilted lover. Kevin Smith comes in to write the pilot script and direct.


  • Joel Kinnaman $35
  • Jonah Hill $35
  • Emma Stone $35
  • Kiefer Sutherland $30

Time Period

  • Present day $5


  • Chicago $45


  • Name writer $60
  • Name director (pilot only) $5

Total: $250.00