Graham Norton last year received pay of over €3.4m for presenting his popular Friday night BBC chat show.
The popular and charismatic BBC presenter is in a league of his own as the £2.97m (€3.4m) represents pay of £92,894 (€106,577) per show or £1,857 per minute from the 31 Graham Norton shows and one Graham Norton Good Guest Guide broadcast during 2018.
ITV owned production firm, So Television Ltd produces the Graham Norton Show and the pay by So Television to Norton is in addition to the £610,000 that the BBC pays the entertainer each year for presenting his BBC Radio 2 show and for a range of programme and series that doesn't include his chat show.
The combined pay from the BBC and So Television to Norton totals £3.582m (€4.1m) for the year.
In an interview earlier this month, Norton referred to the attention around his pay when he said: “All the people who say, ‘He earns that, he doesn’t deserve that,’ they’re absolutely right,”
He 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.”
The €4.1 million pay to Norton dwarfs the pay of the much publicised top 10 earners at RTE where highest earner, Late Late Show presenter, Ryan Tubridy was on an annual salary of €495,000 for his TV and radio work at RTE in 2016.
The Graham Norton Show drives revenues at So Television and last year the firm recorded revenues of £15.89m broken down between revenues of £11.6m in the UK and £4.25m for around the world chiefly through selling the Graham Norton show globally.
Last year, So Television recorded pre-tax profits of £2.34m.
Fifty six year old Norton 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 two novels, his debut ‘Holding’ in 2016 and ‘A Keeper’ at the start of last October.
Last year, ‘A Keeper’ was one of the country’s best selling books here according to Neilsen Bookscan selling 28,866 copies
Norton’s show is a ‘must do’ for Hollywood 'A listers' and singers promoting their movies and albums in the UK and Europe and this Friday’s show underlines that featuring screen legend Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and Sienna Miller.
Norton and producer of the Graham Norton show, Graham Stuart sold So Television to ITV in 2012 with ITV agreeing to pay the two £10m up front while a further £7m was payable depending on its performance up to July 2016.
According to the directors’ report, “the Graham Norton show continued to perform very well, both in the UK and internationally”.
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 26 last year and staff costs totalled £1.7m.
Accumulated profits at the group last December totalled £16.7m.
The firm last year paid only £1,286 in corporation tax. Based on the UK corporate tax rate, the firm would have liable to a tax bill of £445,030. However, mainly as a result of ‘group relief’ totalling £451,042, the tax bill was £1,286.