U.K. TV top 10 talent earners exceed $3.9 mil

30-40 TV, radio stars were paid nearly $2 mil each

LONDON -- Offering a rare sneak peek into U.K. television talent fees, the pubcaster disclosed Monday (June 2) that the U.K.’s top ten earners overall each made "well in excess" of 2 million pounds ($3.9 million) in appearance fees each last year while "between thirty and forty" television and radio stars across all channels were each paid more than 1 million pounds ($1.9 million) in program fees alone.

Publishing a report into television talent payments across all television channels, BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons said there was "no evidence" that the BBC was paying more than the market price for talent and "no evidence that the BBC is systematically pushing up prices."

The report, by independent consultants Oliver and Ohlbaum, was commissioned last year after mounting concerns that such deals as chatshow host Jonathan Ross's rumored 18 million pounds ($35.4 million) three-year production contract were evidence that the pubcaster was wasting license fee payers money.

The BBC's commercial competitors including ITV had also accused the BBC of bidding up talent payments at a time when an advertising recession meant they were struggling.

The report said that "very top talent" could expect to double their appearance fees from repeats and commercial spin-offs, with comedians, drama actors and lifestyle and cookery presenters most likely to recoup extra cash from repeats, tie-in publishing deals, sales to U.K. and overseas broadcasters and DVD royalties
Udpated: Tuesday June 3