American Idol 'is top TV money-spinner'

Simon Cowell The figures relate to 2010 when Simon Cowell was still on the American Idol judging panel

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American Idol made more money from advertising revenue than any other US TV show in 2010, according to a survey by Forbes magazine.

The singing contest raked in an estimated $7.1m (£4.4m) every half hour during its last series.

Far behind in second place was Charlie Sheen's former comedy show Two and A Half Men, with $2.9m (£1.8m).

Data was taken from Kantar Media, who surveyed all regular prime time shows, excluding sports events.

American Idol's 2010 figures were down $1m (£620,000) on the previous year.

Simon Cowell was still on the judging panel in the last series, accompanied by Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson.

Following Charlie Sheen's sacking from Two and A Half Men, it remains to be seen whether the show can continue to generate as much revenue, Kantar's Jon Swallen said.

"The show is built around the interplay between two contrasting characters," Mr Swallen said.

"If you remove one, it fundamentally makes it a different show. If it comes back on the air there will be a curiosity factor but after a few episodes it will have to rise or fall on its own merit."

Desperate Housewives was in third place with an estimated $2.74m (£1.7m), with medical drama Grey's Anatomy at four with $2.67m.

Dancing With The Stars also brought in $2.67m, while Lost, which ended last year, made $2.6m (£1.6m).

Comedies The Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly, real-time drama 24 and Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice also featured in the top 10.

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