BBC: Star Spending Drops 1 Percent in Latest Year to $300 Million

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Graham Norton

The U.K. public broadcaster cut its talent costs by $6 million alone from two unnamed stars' exits.

LONDON – BBC star salaries fell by 1 percent in the latest fiscal year, with just north of $300 million (£200 million) dished out to talent on TV and radio.

Despite the BBC's pledge to crack down on talent pay, the total bill across almost 50,000 employees designated as talent dropped just slightly for the fiscal year ended in March.

The BBC's annual report, published on Tuesday, said the talent pay represented a $4.1 million (£2.7 million) reduction from what the U.K. public broadcaster had spent on 51,991 individuals the previous year when star salaries were a big topic of debate.

After last year's annual report, the BBC pledged to reduce headline grabbing salaries for on-screen stars after being hit by criticism amid high-profile exits of such entertainment stars as Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

This year's report shows that the numbers of highest paid talent – those paid between $755,000 and $7.5 million – fell from 16 to 14.

Big-ticket broadcasters on the BBC include late-night talk show host and radio host Graham Norton and flagship news program Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman.

According to the Guardian, cutting the pay of two unnamed stars saved the BBC $6 million alone, reducing the cost for its 14 remaining highest paid stars from $14.2 million (£9.69 million) to $8.45 million (£5.6 million).

The talent remuneration bracket that saw the biggest jump in pay was the $226,000 (£150,000)-$377,000 (£250,000) band, with 83 employees paid in that range in 2012/2013, up from 76 in the previous accounting period.

The number in the $377,000-$755,000 band dropped from 36 in 2011/12 to 33 this year, with payments amounting to $14.1 million (£9.36 million).