Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wolling in it

Jonathan Ross is on is way to become the highest paid British TV presenter ever. How did that happen?

The BBC want to pay him £12.5m. This in the same week that the corporation is on the receiving end of flak over the large salaries that it pays its radio and TV presenters, including Wossy. Jeremy Paxman picks up a combined £1.1m for 'Newsnight' and 'University Challenge', which some people in this office seem to think is possibly the best programme on TV. In radio, Terry Wogan comes out on top with £800,000. He is Radio 2's top talent so arguably there is a case for his cash.

Over on Radio 1, Sarah Cox picks up £200,000 for presenting a weekend radio show. Cox and BBC public service remit? Oh please. More than 3,000 people are losing their jobs.

Then there is Jonathan Ross. He takes home £530,000 a year for his three-hour Saturday show. The BBC want to give him another £12.5m (over three years) in an attempt to keep him out of the hands of ITV and Channel 4, who are all desperately keen to sign him. Did I miss something?

Ross is great car crash TV, best watched after… well after, but his show can be the most cringeworthy piece of trash in the world. Some of his interviews are so truly awful that the only response is to run and hide behind the couch (that could just be me).

Anyone who witnessed his efforts with Jennifer Connelly, Kanye West and Shirley Ghostman will know how bad he can be.

He has a habit of not letting people get in a word edgeways. I don't know, but that can be a bit of a problem if your job is to interview people. His radio show is much better, so people say, it's his natural medium partly because he holds back a bit, but mostly because he only has himself to talk to.

Who knows what's going on the at the BBC. Clearly having blundered so badly with Graham Norton and Davina McCall it is desperate to hang on to a big name, but surely it has to draw the licence-fee-funded line somewhere. If ITV really want to pay Ross £15m the BBC should let it have him.

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