While discussion has been thrown around about The Chase being GSN's most expensive show right now (with Skin Wars as a very close second), The problem with The Chase unlike Skin Wars is that the money given away is unknown. Mark Labbett, "The Beast", could have tough games, rough days or just a batch of contestants on fire. There with The Chase, GSN could give away hundreds of thousands, if not over a million dollars within an order of episodes.
While GSN has almost renewed the cheaper Idiotest and also produces cheap shows like Chain Reaction and Steampunk'd, is Hellevator in the expensive category? I do not know the numbers, but I would have to say Hellevator and The Chase are about tied for GSN to produce cost-wise.
The set for The Chase is more expensive. It looks nice, has nights lights and has stretched HD screens, while Hellevator is a dark warehouse. While The Chase only gives away money to contestants about one out of every five episodes while Hellevator gives away a lot of money each episode.
Hellevator gives away larger amounts than GSN's cheaper productions Idiotest (around $1,000-$2,000 per game) and Chain Reaction (around $1,500 per game and around $6,500 one out of every approximately seven episodes). The contestants on the premiere night of Hellevator walked out with $28,000, and I bet future episodes will be similar.
The cash winnings per round for Hellevator go $5,000 for the first round, an additional $10,000 for the second round and then an additional $15,000 for the third round. It is very likely that a team of contestants will fetch at least one of those each episode. Then, $20,000 for a successful completion of the "labyrinth" final round, where the contestants should get at least some money per game. I would bet Hellevator gives away an average of $15,000 per episode throughout its run, if not more.
More importantly for Hellevator, which may make up for the great set on The Chase, are the stunts people on Hellevator. The actors, fake blood and props have to be very costly for GSN. Without them, Hellevator could be much cheaper. But, those features are needed in Hellevator.
I think both Hellevator and The Chase are about equal when it comes to cost. It will be interesting which, if either, neither or both, get renewed with what numbers they have.