When it comes to TV series, the most popular, highest-rating shows in the past years either belong to BBC or ITV. The two largest broadcasters have been competing for screen presence since the late 1990s, with BBC as the largest, and also oldest national broadcaster in the world, and ITV as the oldest commercial network. For more than two decades, they have introduced to the audience a collection of familiar shows through the years, such as Britain's Got Talent, This Morning, and Top Gear, to name a few. The popularity of such programs also catapulted their presenters into the limelight, with most of them becoming regular fixtures on screen and earning serious money. From duo Ant and Dec to Dermot O'Leary, let's take a look at the top 10 best-paid presenters of BBC and ITV in terms of annual salary.
Born on 23 November 1970, British Zoe Ball grew up with journalism running in her blood. Her father, Johnny Ball, was a celebrated presenter who remained a regular fixture on children's television from the mid-1970s and throughout the 1980s, with notable roles in Think of a Number; Think Again; Think Backwards; Think...This Way and Johnny Ball Reveals All. With a journalistic background inherited from her famous father, Zoe Ball quickly burst onto the presenting scene when she was 19, working as a runner at Granada Television and researcher for Cool Cube on BSkyB.
In 2011, Ball replaced Claudia Winkleman as the host of BBC Two's It Takes Two before stepping down from the role last year. Other notable TV shows that Ball has anchored over the years include Celebrity Gogglebox, The Voice: Louder on Two, and Soapstar Superstar. Despite her presence on TV shows, throughout her time at the network, Zoe Ball is most famous for hosting both Radio 1 Breakfast (1997-2000) and The Radio 2 Breakfast Show (2019-present) - the first female anchor ever to achieve the feat. Since replacing veteran host Chris Evans on Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Ball has been earning around £1.65m per year.
Born on 10 February 1981, British host Holly Willoughby first burst onto showbiz as an underwear model, appearing in teen magazines for girls such as Mizz, Just Seventeen, Shout, and More! when she was just 17. At age 19, though, Holly made a career transition and burst onto screen as a children's presenter, with notable roles in CBBC at the Fame Academy, X-perimental, and CD: UK. Holly's big break came in 2006 when she was chosen to co-present with Phillip Schofield in ITV's hit show Dancing on Ice. Her fun-loving nature and chemistry with Schofield in the show made Holly a household name, earning her a flood of lucrative deals in the following years.
Dancing on Ice isn't the only show Holly has fronted in her illustrious career. She has also hosted various primetime hit shows including The Xtra Factor, Celebrity Wrestling: Bring it On, Streetmate, and Holly & Fearne Go Dating. With such a strong screen presence, it is no wonder that Holly is one of the fan's favorites. Currently, Holly is presenting This Morning and Dancing on Ice alongside long-term pal Phillip Scholfield, Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof and The Games. Holly rakes in £1.8m annually from her contract with ITV.
Phillip Schofield was born on 1 April 1962. He began his journalistic career as a bookings clerk and teaboy for BBC Radio at Broadcasting House in London. Phillip's first big break came when he was chosen to present Children's BBC on weekdays from 1985 until 1987. His reputation as the King of Daytime TV came in 2002 as he became a presenter on the ITV daytime show This Morning, which he is still doing today.
There's no denying that we love to see This Morning because of the adorable friendship between Phillip and his long-term co-presenter Holly Willoughby. The pair first collaborated in 2006's Dancing on Ice before becoming one of the most famous presenting duos following their roles in This Morning. Aside from the two popular primetime shows, Phillip has also been hosting The British Soap Awards since 2006. As one of the most experienced presenters of ITV, Phillip earns approximately £2m from his contract with the broadcaster.
49-year-old host Dermot O'Leary began his career as a DJ at commercial radio station BBC Essex. He got his first hosting role in the 1998's T4, before securing more prominent features in SAS: Are You Tough Enough?, Shattered, and Comic Relief, to name a few. Since 2021, Dermot has become a regular fixture on ITV's This Morning on weekdays and holidays alongside Alsion Hammond.
Throughout his career, Dermott has hosted various primetime shows, but he is perhaps most well-known as the presenter of ITV's The X Factor since 2007. While he once gave up the position in 2005, Dermott returned just one year later, and in 2016, the TV personality claimed that he had signed an £8 million contract spanning four years to continue his gig in The X Factor.
One of BBC's highest-paid entertainers of all time, Chris Evans boasts an illustrious career spanning almost four decades. His rise to success is even more admirable given that he once struggled to find a stable job in his early twenties. In four years, Chris had over 20 menial jobs. He only became a national interest after becoming co-presenter of The Big Breakfast, an anarchic early morning TV show. Other prominent programs with Chris' presence include TFI Friday, Top Gear, and The One Show. Aside from presenting on TV, Chris has been hosting Virgin Radio UK's Weekday Breakfast Show since 2019.
Despite being one of the best-paid anchors of the BBC, Chris Evans makes most of his massive fortune from business. He netted megabucks from selling Virgin Radio, which he previously bought from billionaire Richard Branson. He was also the founder of the media company Ginger Productions.
Gary Lineker was a famous football star, having played for top clubs in European such as Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Barcelona. After retiring with 461 club matches and 238 goals, Gary developed an interest in the media. He took on various sports-related roles at the network, including their flagship football television program Match of the Day, They Think It's All Over, Match of the Day, and Northern Exposure.
Since 2016, Gary Lineker has remained the highest-paid BBC employee, earning £1.75–1.76 million every year. He also earns his annual income from his £1.2million three-year deal with the Leicester-based snack company Walkers. However, Gary's high salary base has been criticized by fellow presenters, who claim that it reflects a serious disparity between presenter's paychecks. In 2020, Gary Lineker had to accept a pay cut from £1.75m to £1.35m to remain in the hot seat of Match of the Day.
British host Stephen Mulhern began his career as a magician, having starred in the children's program Blue Peter. His presenting career began in 1998 when Stephen hosted four series of ITV's Finger Tips with Fearne Cotton from 2001 until 2003. Between 2005 and 2006, Stephen hosted the magic show Tricky TV, where he used celebrities as his subjects for magical tricks. He also has a string of other game shows under his belt, including Magic Numbers, Catchphrase, and Rolling In It.
While he may not be the most iconic face on the screen, Stephen is no doubt one of the busiest presenters with dozens of shows up his sleeve. Aside from his signature magic game shows, the 45-year-old has regularly hosted spin-offs of popular shows. In 2006, Stephen presented the ITV2 spin-off Dancing on Ice: Defrosted, before presenting ITV2 spin-off Britain's Got More Talent from 2007 to 2019. Working in so many projects at the same time, Stephen earns approximately £3m per year.
Graham Norton, whose real name is Graham Walker, is undoubtedly one of the most famous faces of British TV. Although Graham Norton began his career at Channel 4, his most notable shows came during his time at the BBC. His work at the national broadcaster began in 2001 in Comic Relief. Since then, he has been fronting a string of BBC programs, including When Will I Be Famous? (2007), Any Dream Will Do (2007), The One and Only (2008) and Totally Saturday (2009). In 2022, Norton became the judge of RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World. Aside from fronting TV shows, Graham is also a prominent voice on the radio, presenting on Saturdays and Sundays on Virgin Radio UK.
Dubbed 'The King of talk show', Graham became a household name after he hosted his own show - The Graham Norton Show, which has been running for 29 consecutive seasons on BBC. Thanks to the show's success, Graham won an impressive five BAFTA TV Awards. His relaxed and down-to-earth presenting style has always received praise from both critics and the audience.
Amanda Holden is a famous English actress and TV personality. She first burst onto screen as a contestant on the game show Blind Date in 1991, before securing more roles in Smack the Pony, EastEnders, Hearts, and Bones, Cutting It, and Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill. She began fronting shows in 2003's Greasemania. In 2007, she became a judge of the TV talent show competition Britain's Got Talent on ITV, and has been remaining in the hot seat ever since.
Aside from fronting TV shows, Amanda Holden is also active in stage, radio, and film projects. So far, the 51-year-old star has had acting credits in five films, including a voice role in the live-action family comedy Pudsey the Dog: The Movie (2014). Since 2019, she has been co-hosting Heart's UK Breakfast with Jamie and Amanda on weekday mornings.
Probably the most famous presenting duo in the world, Ant & Dec consists of comedians Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. Collectively, the pair have been working together for around two decades, co-hosting various hit shows such as Saturday Night Takeaway, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Britain's Got Talent and Limitless Win. They both first began their career as actors with minor roles, before becoming singers under the character names PJ & Duncan. During their time as musical artists, the duo released sixteen singles and three studio albums, with their highest UK chart position being number three.
Ant & Dec's first major presenting job came in 1995 in CITV's The Ant & Dec Show, which won them their first BAFTA Awards. Their presenting career reached a turning point in 2002 when they became co-hosts of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which has since run for 18 series, and I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, which is set to return to Australia in the upcoming season. In 2017, the pair was awarded an OBE from the Queen in recognition of their contribution to broadcasting and entertainment. According to Examiner.live, the duo earns around £35,000, making them the highest-paid anchors on this list.