Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson
If you believe that cynicism and snark can’t be turned into a lucrative career, perhaps you’ll want to rethink that position after we disclose Jeremy Clarkson’s approximate 2011 income from the BBC.
His real income, however, came from royalties derived from Top Gear, which netted the irritable Englishman an estimated 2.7 million pounds ($4,218,210). Adding that up, Clarkson took home roughly $5,546,165 before taxes, which isn’t too shabby for hosting a show about cars that airs around 13 new episodes per year.
We’re not saying that Clarkson isn’t worth it, since his quick wit ensures a steady stream of profit for the BBC (and continued employment for dozens of BBC attorneys and PR staff). He’s also the most recognizable man in Britain (and, we’d argue in any part of the world that gets cable TV), so that alone is worth both money and ratings.
Still, we’re plenty cynical and sarcastic ourselves, and none of the High Gear Media staff would look worse on camera than Mr. Clarkson (conversely, none of us would look better, either). A quick show of hands illustrates that any one of us would be willing to give his job a try, for far less than $5.5 million.
We can’t guarantee the same kind of ratings that Clarkson pulls in, but we can pronounce “aluminum” and “Camaro” correctly, and would certainly cost the BBC less in legal expenses each year. If you want to speak with us, Top Gear producers, we’re easily found.