Surprising Salaries Behind NBC’s Hit ‘The Voice’

'The Voice' (Photo: NBC)

'The Voice' (Photo: NBC)

Now that NBC’s “The Voice” is officially an insta-hit, here come some details on just how they did that. The Hollywood Reporter goes behind the red throne chairs and reveals some interesting tidbits on how the show hit all the right notes — and what it takes to keep it humming.

The first startling fact is how much the show costs to produce: THR claims it costs $2.3 million an hour (up from its initial price tag of $1.5 million an hour).

The trade also reports how much each of the “Voice” coaches earns.

According to “knowledgable sources,” the lone lady on the throne Christina Aguilera reportedly makes a whopping $225,000 per hour (it’s not clear if this is actually per hour or per episode…some episodes have been two hours long), while the other mentors – Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton – each make just $75,000. Yes, Xtina is making $150,000 more an hour than her male counterparts. (Who knew this season was The Girl vs. The Guys for more reasons than one?)

So, what prompted NBC to jump into the crowded singing competition arena to start with? Oddly, it was Simon Cowell’s departure from “American Idol” that opened the door for opportunity says THR; that’s what led NBC reality executive Paul Telegdy to approach producer Mark Burnett (he of “Survivor” and “Apprentice” fame, who had also dabbled with music before in CBS’ ill-fated “Rock Star”).

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As for its formula for success, the show found its “hook” with inspiration from “The Voice of Holland,” which featured the blind audition twist, and they subsequently partnered with its creator John de Mol after NBC swiped the series pitch from CBS (who “balked at the cost”).

NBC, meanwhile, balked at the Judge Dredd M.O. Cowell made famous and instituted a kinder, gentler mentoring style from its talented coaches, who also add spark to the show by occasionally performing together and with their teams.

The results? A debut that reeled in a beyond expectation 5.1 rating in the all important 18-49 demo, a total of about 12 million viewers, and continued solid ratings.

While NBC hopes to capitalize on its success without destroying it, here are three changes THR reports viewers can look for coming in Season 2:

~an increase to five or six audition episodes (up from two rounds of blind auditions this season)
~feature more of the contestants’ backstories and portray more of the coaching process, through extending the “battle round” episodes
~potentially having two installments of “The Voice” a year — one airing in the fall and one airing in the spring (a la “Dancing with the Stars”)

The season finale airs Wednesday, June 29 on NBC. The winner takes a $200,000 cash prize and a one-album deal with Universal Republic.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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