The Match of the Day presenter takes home £1.35m, with Radio 2’s Zoe Ball the next highest earner.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has topped a list of the BBC’s best-paid stars for a fifth year in a row, taking £1.35m in the last financial year.
That’s slightly down on the £1.36m he earned in the previous year, which came after he took a pay cut from £1.75m.
Radio 2 breakfast show host Zoe Ball is second on the new list, with £980,000. She also previously earned more but took a 28% pay cut at the end of 2020.
She’s one of three women in this year’s top 10, down from four last year.
Fiona Bruce and Vanessa Feltz have also made the cut again, but 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne has dropped out of the top 10 after her salary fell by £15,000 to £380,000.
BBC on-air talent top earners
- 1. Gary Lineker – £1.35m
- 2. Zoe Ball – £980,000
- =3. Steve Wright – £450,000
- =3. Alan Shearer – £450,000
- 5. Stephen Nolan – £415,000
- =6. Huw Edwards – £410,000
- =6. Fiona Bruce – £410,000
- =8. Scott Mills – £400,000
- =8. Vanessa Feltz – £400,000
- 10. Greg James – £390,000
The figures were published in the corporation’s latest annual report, which also revealed a sharp drop in the time UK adults spend watching TV every day.
Average viewing dropped from eight hours 11 minutes in 2020/21 to seven hours 12 minutes in 2021/22, although part of that fall may be explained by people watching less than they did during the height of the pandemic.
The star salaries list does not include all presenters and actors because the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Studios, which makes many of programmes, does not have to publish its talent spend. So pay for shows like Strictly Come Dancing are not included.
Seventy-four on-air people earning more than £150,000 were listed this year, with the gender split being similar to last year – 41 men (55%) and 33 women (45%). Previous director general Tony Hall had pledged that the gap would be closed by 2020.
Radio 1 breakfast host Greg James is the only new entry in the top 10, with Huw Edwards the only name apart from Lineker in the top 10 to have seen a pay reduction. The news presenter’s salary fell from £425,000 in 2020/21 to £410,000 in 2021/22.
Some enjoyed an increase, with Alan Shearer getting a £60,000 pay bump. He now takes home £450,000 a year for his work on football shows including Match of the Day.
Scott Mills, who is moving from Radio 1 to take up Steve Wright’s afternoon slot on Radio 2 later this year, had an increase of £15,000. Wright also had a £15,000 pay rise, although his salary is likely to be reduced next year when he leaves his current daytime show.
There are no broadcasters from ethnic minority backgrounds in the top 10.
The wage bill for all on-air talent overall is down slightly at £129.8m. Last year it was £130m.
A number of high-profile broadcasters who have left the BBC in the last year appear on the latest list, including former North America editor Jon Sopel, former Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, and Andrew Marr., who said he was leaving the corporation for LBC to “get his voice back”.
The total bill for the BBC’s executive board, including non-executives, was £4.3m, down from £4.8m in 2020/2021.
But as has already been announced, the BBC’s director general Tim Davie has had a salary increase – from £494,000 to £522,000.
The BBC is facing cutbacks after the government announced in January that it would freeze the licence fee for two years.
Mr Davie told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this year that the settlement would “affect our frontline output”.
Asked what might be cut, he said “everything’s on the agenda”.