Netflix’s “Get Down” Episode Budget Explodes

Going into production, Netflix was undoubtedly aware that the period hip hop drama “The Get Down” would be an expensive proposition. Just how expensive it would get though has probably taken them by surprise.

Oscar-winning husband-wife team Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, Pulitzer-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, hip-hop historian Nelson George and iconic rappers MC Nas and Grandmaster Flash all produced the first season of twelve episodes which was split into two batches of six – the first of which went online in August.

When a TV drama is produced for $6 million or higher an episode, it’s considered expensive. “The Get Down” was initially going to have a $7-8 million per episode budget, but a bunch of behind-the-scenes problems with two showrunners coming and going and a major expansion of Luhrmann’s involvement ratcheted up the cost.

Filming shutdowns, staffing changes and script rewrites blew out that total with reports back in July indicating the first season came in at over $120 million – around $10-11 million per episode which would be one of the most costly shows on TV. Turns out it’s even higher than that.

Deadline has learned that given the way the deal is constructed, Netflix is paying closer to $16 million per episode due to the additional premiums the streaming giant has to pay for worldwide rights to the IP along with other post-production costs. The total for the entire season is now said to hover in the $190 million range, and they’re not completely finished either.

Scoring fairly good reviews, “The Get Down” was not a runaway hit in the way that pop culture phenom “Stranger Things” has been, but it is said to be the No. 1 show among African Americans and Hispanics. The remaining six episodes will debut sometime next year.