I am curious about the cost to make an episode of Star Trek and the comparative cost between the various series.

What did it cost on average to do a single episode of Star Trek TOS, TNG, VOY, DS9, and ENT?

What are both the real average cost at the time of each series, and the cost adjusted for inflation into 2015 US Dollars?

I realize that some of the series went over a span of multiple years and inflation changes. I also realize certain episodes might have cost more or less then others within a series based on salaries, special effects, or other factors. I am just looking for an average and am not nit-picky about how that average is figured.

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    About seven bars of Latinum per episode
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2015 at 6:16
  • 1
    I'm not sure about the exchange rate of quatloos to dollars. Your mileage may vary. May 7, 2015 at 6:52
  • @MajorStackings 1.00 US DOLLAR = .75 Triskelion Quatloos, give it to me in Quatloos and I'll convert it over. However I have no way of converting Gold Pressed Latinum into Dollars as they do not exist during the same time period and I have no point of reference Richard.
    – JMFB
    May 7, 2015 at 7:05
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    @Richard is that inflation adjusted to 2396 Earth Dollars?
    – user11521
    Nov 10, 2015 at 1:06
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    If we're talking about the TNG episode "Shades of Grey", I feel confident in saying probably less than a hundred dollars. In three easy payments of 29.99, no less.
    – Helbent IV
    Mar 27, 2017 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


Production for the initial season of Star Trek (TOS) cost an average of $190,635 per episode. (Memory Alpha)

Some episodes went largely over budget, such as "The City on the Edge of Forever", which cost $250,396, the most expensive of all episodes except the two pilots. But this figure would gradually decrease in the two seasons to come. (REF: Inside Star Trek: The Real Story)

In contrast:

Star Trek: The Next Generation was shot on 35 mm film, and the budget for each episode was $1.3 million, among the largest for a one-hour television drama. (REF: Weinstein, Steve (May 3, 1988). "Newest 'Star Trek' Zooms at Warp Speed : 'Next Generation' Series Scores With Viewers and Critics Alike". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved May 11, 2011.

I suspect the budgets for the series after the Next Generation had similar budgets because the shows were shot comparatively closer together than TOS and TNG and share similar production values as well as reusing technology, improving software and availability of models and costuming.

  • These are all in unadjusted dollars as far as I know. I suspect since TNG, DS9 and VOY share production values and comparable time periods, I suspect their per episode costs were also comparable. Enterprise (ENT) seemed slightly less production-comparable to me as a viewer but it may also share similar overall values.

  • Episodes, of course, vary depending on the amount of makeup, visual effects, external location shots, and CGI/Modeling necessary per episode. The more of those you have, the higher the cost per episode.

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    This is a good start. So are those costs the costs at that time. IE, 190,635 dollars in the late 60's, and 1.3 million in the late 80's early 90's? Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation are they? Are you saying Voyager and DS9 are the same as TNG? What about Enterprise?
    – JMFB
    May 7, 2015 at 7:14
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    $190K in 1967 is about $1.4M today. m.wolframalpha.com/input/… - $1.3M in 1990 is about $2.4M today.
    – Tony Meyer
    May 7, 2015 at 8:04
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    WRT Enterprise: according to this: "I think the Broken Bow budget was about $12 million or so. The budget per episode was around $3.3 million IIRC; similar to the later seasons of Voyager." Cost to UPN for ENT S04 was apparently only 800k. See also this thread on MA.
    – BCdotWEB
    May 7, 2015 at 12:57
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    @JMFB: “I feel like VOY was more expensive to produce then either TNG or DS9... The special effects were better.” That’s probably mainly due to advancing computer effects technology rather than increased spend. I believe one of the reasons for commissioning new series was to avoid the increasing expense of popular actors like Patrick Stewart, so Voyager might have been cheaper. May 7, 2015 at 14:43
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    @PaulD.Waite I feel like VOY was more expensive to produce because those new-fangled bio-neural gel packs alone must have cost a fortune...
    – user11521
    Nov 10, 2015 at 1:09

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