Thursday, July 1, 2010


This Tuesday I was invited to the annual ITV Garden Party hosted by Peter Fincham, the Director of Television and all things Online for ITV. It was a glorious evening and some of the great talent of ITV's presenting and performance lineup were there along with execs that make things happen.

I always find it a bit daunting to go to these things initially. But once I'm there there is always someone interesting to talk to. Had a wonderful conversation with Melinda Messenger and with her hubbie Wayne - we chatted about music, swing songs and artists such as Chet Baker, Andy Williams and Sinatra and about bringing up kids. Wayne is a singer and was encouraging me to get out gigging! Scary... but necessary? Robin (Cousins) tanned and glowing from his West End success in Grease was great fun too... Some fun chats with DOI potential cast, Controllers and media people...

It's funny when you see the people that are 'Stars' in close proximity... Everyone is just doing a job but it still has a dynamic to it.

Anyway - I read in the BBC News that STAR PAY IS TO BE CUT... due to economic circumstances. The BBC does not comment on the salaries of individuals, however a spokeswoman said: "Whilst it's true to say that we are, of course, honouring existing contracts, our presenters are aware that when contracts fall due for renewal, the fee will be reduced." Now am I right in thinking the BBC is funded by a license fee and that this keeps going without advertising? So its income is guaranteed and is much less susceptible to economic circumstances than that of independent ITV or Sky for example. Perhaps I am missing something here?

Of course the prevailing mood of our country is tighten our belts and austerity all round but... Why can't we be happy to reward great talent? Now if you don't deliver and still get paid that gets me going as I'm sure it does you but performance related pay is nothing new... Are the BBC using 'the prevailing mood of the country,' helped by our media, to give PR leverage to their negotiations with Artists Agents? What will they do with the money saved? Reassign to other projects? I've been in the "Times are tough and we have no money, negotiation..." Which isn't true but is perhaps a place to start if you want to get people for very little money. A consultant friend of mine told of his dealing with a lawyer who said "I have a great day when I get everything for nothing." Not quite a Win Win scenario....

The danger in this stance is that PEOPLE LEAVE YOU... you can bank on the fact that right now the super agents of the big stars will be scouting out options for moves. But then they always will be. Top talent goes where the biggest money is - hence the plethora of foreign players in our Premier League.

I do wonder if and when it gets to the wire and the bottom line is... OK we will leave you now for a competitive broadcaster that the PR talk may become more muted and we may hear?

"We are delighted to have signed Mr Slater and whilst we cannot comment on individual salaries we are convinced we have excellent value for money." :) ....

Apparently the top 30 to 40 performers in the British Entertainment industry earn over £1m a year. (Source BBC Report - June)

That would do then...

What value Andy Murray if/when he wins Wimbledon?

Have a great sunny day.



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