Thursday, July 02, 2009

So How Much ARE Kate Garraway And Len Goodman Worth, Then?

Judges on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing are expecting to be asked to take a pay cut for the next series, Len Goodman has stated. The show's chief judge told Radio Ulster he did not mind 'if they knock off a couple of bob.' Goodman said he was 'enjoying life' after an operation three weeks ago to remove a cancerous tumour in his prostate. Earlier this month, various BBC employees - including Strictly Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth and Sir Terry Wogan - were warned to expect their salaries to be cut when their contracts were renewed as part of the BBC's plan to save money. 'I understand, we are in the middle of a recession,' Goodman said. 'The job's brilliant. It's not exactly working on the docks - which I did for ten year years - is it? It's a joy so anything I get I always feel a bit of a fraud so I don't mind if they knock off a couple of bob.' He added: 'It's not arduous. I'm not digging ditches am I? I'm only sitting there saying, "lift your leg up and keep your head up higher."' A BBC spokesman added: 'We never discuss individual contracts. However, we have been clear that, as part of wider efficiency savings, we have a firm commitment to reduce the total amount we spend on top talent in the coming years.' The BBC has refused to confirm tabloid press reports that Arlene Phillips will be replaced by the show's 2007 winner Alesha Dixon on the judging panel. I have to note that I think it's going to be a wee bit more than 'a couple of bob' that they're planning on cutting it by, Len. But, I must admit, that is a moderately refreshing attitude to hear in this day and age of want, want, want. See below for one - alleged - example.

On a marginally related note, Joe Calzaghe is set to swap the boxing ring for the dance floor after signing up for the new series of Strictly, according to BBC Wales. The undefeated world super middleweight champion is expected to join the BBC1 show later this year. Calzaghe, from Newbridge, retired from the ring after defeating American Roy Jones Jnr in New York last autumn. A source close to Strictly Come Dancing is reported to have said: 'Producers think Joe has amazing sex appeal. He's in great shape and very competitive. He'll want to win, even when it comes to the waltz, samba and cha-cha-cha.' That doesn't, really, sound to me like the way any 'real person' would actually talk but, you know, let's call it journalistic licence. The boxing star would follow a series of sportsmen who have been successful in the BBC show including cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash, rugby players Matt Dawson and Austin Healey and hurdler Colin Jackson. Calzaghe's TV profile has been increasing in recent months following his appearance alongside son in an advert for Nintendo. He has also won the final of ITV's Beat the Star, securing £130,000 for the Latch children's cancer charity and Beatbullying.

The former Sopranos star Drea De Matteo is to join the cast of Desperate Housewives for its sixth series. No information has been released about her character, but EW.com reports she will play an Italian matriarch whose husband is a landscape designer. The thirty seven-year-old Italian-American actress also played Matt LeBlanc's sister in the Friends spin-off Joey.

Independent TV producers have singled out ITV as the most difficult broadcaster to deal with in the current economic downturn. According to Broadcast's Surviving the Downturn survey, forty percent of producers claimed ITV was commissioning fewer programmes than any other network, ahead of Five, which was named by twenty four percent. Almost half said ITV was imposing the biggest cuts to individual programme budgets of any broadcaster. Channel 4 was mentioned by nineteen percent. The broadcaster also came under fire for its desire to operate outside of the terms of trade. Ofcom has taken the unusual step of investigating this as part of its review of ITV's network arrangements. One respondent summed up the mood, noting 'They are asking for more but expecting to pay less.' An ITV spokesman said he was 'baffled' that producers saw ITV as the broadcaster least prepared to commission. 'Notwithstanding the current economic climate, we still have the largest programming budget of any UK commercial broadcaster and have never stopped commissioning,' he said. This directly contradicts statements made by ITV's executive chairman Michael Grade who told a Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference in May that ITV was overstocked, and it has recently aired shows that were shelved years ago, such as Dating the Enemy and Holiday Showdown, alongside cheap acquisitions such as the Australian Ladette to Lady. One prominent entertainment indie executive said ITV entertainment controller John Kaye Cooper had told him there was no money to commission shows to air before September 2010 and a creative director at another production company said he had stopped pitching to ITV Entertainment in favour of its factual and daytime team, which still had a limited commissioning pot. ITV said it would meet suppliers in mid-July to outline what it is looking for and the slots available. 'We want the best ideas, at the best prices, from the best suppliers,' the spokesman said.

The Bill's iconic theme tune will be scrapped as part of its 9pm relaunch, which will also see the ITV show's one hundred and eighty-strong production team halved. Talkback Thames head of drama and The Bill executive producer Johnathan Young outlined an overhaul that will see the show cut down on dialogue, introduce incidental music and change its theme tune. He said: 'We want the new theme music to get the audience to concentrate a bit more and focus. It will be something that slows you down a bit and prepares you for something a bit more emotional.' The changes are the result of ITV changing its drama spending priorities and opting to run the show once a week at 9pm rather than twice a week at 8pm. It is likely to move slots this month. The result is fifty two episodes a year rather than ninety six, and forty five Talkback Thames staff having been made redundant. The contracts for a further forty five freelancers on the show have also been ended.

The History Channel has secured its first co-production with ITV as part of a group-wide strategy to team up with other UK broadcasters for large-scale documentaries. The sixty-minute Outbreak looks at the first twenty four hours following the outbreak of the Second World War and is being made by ITV Studios to mark the day's Seventieth anniversary in early September. The documentary is fully funded by the two broadcasters, with ITV putting in more than half of the budget. The partnership builds on The History Channel's recent tie-up with Channel 4 to equally fund feature-length docs that premiere in More4's True Stories strand. The first, Kenyan Murder Mystery, aired on More4 and the Crime and Investigation Network in Africa on the same day and on C&IN UK a week later. C4 and The History Channel are collaborating on two further projects, including Michael Atwell's Skin (working title), about a white South African girl accused by her teacher of being 'too black.'

BBC1 has turned down a revival of 1980s sitcom Don't Wait Up, in which Nigel Havers would have reprised his role as Tom Latimer. The BBC hosted a read-through with Havers for a new version, by original writer George Layton, under working title Second Opinion. In Don't Wait Up, Dr Latimer worked alongside his father, but in the revival he was to have been working with his daughter. The BBC rejected the DLT Entertainment project following controller of comedy commissioning Lucy Lumsden's move to Sky1.

Michael Emerson has predicted a sad ending for Lost. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the actor - Benjamin Linus in the ABC series - said that he does not believe the show will finish on a high note. 'I don't think Lost will have a happy ending,' he revealed. 'It's the end and I think we are going to start seeing more casualties. I would put money on major characters being killed. I believe it will be a sad ending to the show - or at least bittersweet.' He added: 'I think it will definitely be a series finale for grownups.'

Yvette Fielding is teaming up with Paul O'Grady for a new Living show titled Death In Vegas. The two-hour special - due to air in October - will see the pair investigate the haunted location of Poveglia, Venice to decide if there is any truth to its reputation as a hot spot for vampires and ghosts. No, there isn't. That's saved them a trip and you, two hours of lives that you'll never get back having to watch it. As part of its summer schedule, Living will also air new series of both America's Next Top Model and Make Me A Supermodel. Wedding competition show Four Weddings - featuring a selection of celebrity weddings - forms part of the new season, along with a two-part reality special starring Pamela Anderson and Joe Swash. Additionally, an eight-episode dating programme, Dating In The Dark, has been commissioned, in which people are sent on blind dates in a pitch black room. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, somebody actually got PAID for thinking up that idea. There is no justice, no honour and no decency in the world.

Kate Garraway has reportedly threatened to quit her GMTV job if her wages are cut. The presenter, who is pregnant with her second child, is due to have her contract renewed next month. According to the Daily Mirror, Garraway is 'outraged' over suggestions to cut her £280,000 salary by around seventy thousand pounds. I wonder if Kate happens to have a few quid spare which she could loan to viewers so they can buy some hankies to wipe away the tears they're crying for her at this juncture? A source close to Garraway is quoted as saying: 'The deal was a shocker. Kate's agent is prepared to pull her from GMTV if they continue along these lines as the station is still hugely profitable and they're just using the credit crunch as an excuse.' However, a show insider insisted that cuts must be made, saying: 'GMTV is saving money all over the place - in this climate presenters will be nuts not to accept what they are offered. These figures are happening across the industry.' Earlier this year, forty two-year-old Garraway was forced to deny claims that she was involved in a feud with her GMTV colleague Emma Crosby.

CSI: Miami's return to Five last night pulled in the bafflingly popular drama's best ever UK ratings, early figures suggest. The seventh season debut, in which it was revealed that Horatio - played by David Caruso - and his sunglasses - played by a pair of sunglasses which regularly act David Caruso off-screen - had faked his/their own death, attracted 3.77m (18.2%) to Five, making it the most-watched programme during the 9pm hour.

Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, revealed the rough recipe for success in Salford: one third of the two-and-a-half thousand strong workforce will be made up of current BBC Manchester staff, one third from London, and one third will be recruited from around the regions, most likely, the north. Salmon was being questioned by Richard Bacon in the keynote discussion at the Showcomotion Children's Media Conference in Sheffield. 'I want to inject some new blood into the BBC,' he said. Salmon, in his first public discussion since taking up the new post, was lucky to arrive on time after being involved in a minor car accident on his route north. The aim of the three-day conference is to discuss children's media and entertainment in the broadcast and online industries. Bacon began his line of questioning by fondly remembering his time on Blue Peter which, as we know, 'didn't end well.' His humorous approach didn't last, however, as he presented a hard line on the future of CBBC at MediaCityUK. Both Blue Peter and Newsround are suffering from being pushed to an earlier time slot in the schedule and Saturday morning television is now the domain of bacon and salmon on cookery programmes, rather than children's cartoons such as Rhubarb and Custard. 'None of us feel good that older slabs of children's programmes has been damaged by moving them in the schedule but children's is a large chunk of the licence fee, and will be a central piece in the Salford move,' says Salmon. 'It's not dying a slow death. It looks and feels as good as it's ever done.' He admitted the drop in figures 'is an issue we need to crack.' In front of an audience which included many representatives from independent production companies, Bacon asked if moving Children's away from the commissioners in the capital was a wise idea. 'We're moving to the heart of the UK though,' said Salmon. 'Children's will be utterly cherished in Salford. MediaCity is not going to be a sub post office; it will be a huge media destination.'

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