Graham Norton in league of his own as pay totals €4.58m

Graham Norton in league of his own as pay totals €4.58m

Gordon Deegan

Chat show king Graham Norton received pay of €3.747 million for presenting his popular Friday night BBC chat show in 2019, according to newly filed accounts.

The £3.235 million (€3.747m) that Norton received from production company, So Television Ltd is in addition to the £725,000 the BBC paid the popular entertainer in 2019/20 for presenting his BBC Radio 2 show.

The combined £3.96 million (€4.58m) pay received by Norton for his TV and radio work in 2019 puts the Cork man in a pay league of his own amongst Irish broadcasters.

Top earner

Norton's €4.58 million pay for 2019 is €1.37 million more than the combined €3.21 million pay of the top 10 earners at RTE, which includes Ryan Tubridy and Joe Duffy.

Norton’s pay for So Television represents good value for the ITV-owned company as it became even more reliant in 2019 on Norton’s primetime show to generate its revenues. In 2019, So Television Ltd generated pre-tax profits of £2.3 million as revenues declined by 9 per cent to £14.43 million.

The company generates the bulk of its revenues from the Graham Norton Show broadcast on BBC and countries around the world.

Over €100,000 per show

The £3.23 million paid to Norton in 2019 represents £101,105 (€117,102) per show or £2,246 (€2,601) per minute from the 31 Graham Norton shows and one Graham Norton Good Guest Guide broadcast during 2019.

The directors’ report states that the Graham Norton Show “continued to perform very well in sales and ratings, both in the UK and internationally”.

The directors state that sales decreased due to the reduced number of Blind Date episodes and Chuckletime not returning.

A breakdown of So Television’s revenues show that £10.5 million was generated in the UK with £3.86m generated in ‘rest of world’.

Virgin move

Last December, Norton left BBC Radio 2 after 10 years and now presents Saturday and Sunday morning shows on Virgin Radio UK.

In an interview earlier this year, Norton hit out at the publication of the BBC top earners list.

He said: “The list is rubbish. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t tell you what people are earning because of how people are paid, which is why so many radio people are on that list."

In a previous interview, Norton said: “You cannot justify my wages, so I don’t try. Am I still cashing the cheques? Yes, because somehow the market forces have decreed this is my value.”

Best-selling novels

Norton (58) has shown over the past number of years that his talents extend well beyond entertaining millions of TV viewers every week with the publication of three best-selling novels, his debut ‘Holding’ in 2016, ’A Keeper’ and ‘Home Stretch’ published last year.

Norton and the producer of the Graham Norton show, Graham Stuart, sold So Television to ITV in 2012 with the TV station agreeing to pay the two £10 million up-front, while a further £7 million was payable depending on its performance up to July 2016.

Cork links

Born in Dublin and raised in Bandon, Co Cork, Norton first shot to prominence in 1996 for his part of Father Noel Furlong in 'Father Ted' before he moved to Channel 4 to host his own chat show.

Norton established So Television Ltd with Graham Stuart in 2000.

Numbers employed by So Television remained the same at 19 in 2019 and staff costs totalled £1.85 million. Accumulated profits at So Television in December 2019 totalled £19.3 million.

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