[is crap] May, Hammond in pay standoff?

teeb

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The Guardian said:
Top Gear stars James May and Richard Hammond have not yet signed new contracts despite their agreements expiring at the end of the month ? leading to fears they may leave the show.

Internally at the BBC there are fears that "there could be a break up of the team, it has got that bad" according to one source familiar with the negotiations, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.

Negotiations stalled after the pair "turned down flat" the first offer from the BBC and have argued for a TV contract that gives them a salary more in line with the pay packet of co-host Jeremy Clarkson, according to the source.

"Internally there is talk that there might be a chance for the first time that there could be a break up of the team, it has got that bad," said the source.

He claimed: "There has been a lot of pulling out of hair, a Mexican stand-off. For the first time it is possible that one or both might leave."

"They don't want to accept second status anymore," said the source. "There has been a meltdown in negotiations".

It is understood that the new deal Clarkson signed last month gives him a return on some of the commercial activities of the Top Gear franchise.

In June he struck a lucrative deal with BBC Worldwide to promote BBC2 hit Top Gear around the world, in return for a profit-related fee.

The show is a success abroad, with the US and Australia making their own versions.

According to a source familiar with the situation, the "recalibration" of Clarkson's Top Gear deal is a significant extra bonus and gives more leverage to Hammond and May's agents to argue for more money.

While the pair claim that they deserve pay commensurate with their star status, it is understood that the BBC has argued that Top Gear is their "power base" for popularity.

Without a Top Gear deal, the BBC argues that Hammond and May's wider media profiles could be damaged.

Hammond has built up his popularity immensely since his brush with death in a high-speed crash for Top Gear last year.

May has also built up a following with his on-screen partnership with wine expert Oz Clarke in BBC2 show Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We never comment on contract negotiations."

The corporation is in a difficult position following a recent review by the BBC Trust of the pay of its top talent.

The report acknowledged the greater competition for entertainment talent, with chairman Sir Michael Lyons saying: "The value of great entertainers, comedians, actors, presenters, journalists and interviewers is rightly very high and the BBC has a special responsibility because of its funding to help develop the UK's talent base for the benefit of the industry as a whole."

But he added: "The BBC has to be prepared to walk away from deals that do not offer good value."

Such is the popularity of Top Gear that there are claims that if the BBC had not signed the lucrative deal with Clarkson, media mogul Simon Fuller was interested in talking to him about projects.

Top Gear hit the headlines earlier this week after the BBC Trust criticised the show's Polar Special for showing Clarkson and May drinking gin and tonics while driving near the North Pole.

According to today's Daily Mirror, May responded to the decision by saying: "When I saw the ruling, I thought, 'You can sod off'."


Why do I think this is crap? It's in the Guardian, who have been a bit anti-Top Gear in the past, and there's no actual source. We'll wait and see.
 

jensked

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And I demand a higher Finalgear status or I leave!

No, that would be really sad to see the team split up because of money. But on the other hand I can understand May and Hammond if they feel they have the right to a higher wage if Clarkson takes so much money. Top Gear isn't Clarkson alone.
 

fbc

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I can't imagine the BBC would be stupid enough to let the trio break up - so I'm sure they'll get what they deserve. Of course, there's every chance the report is baseless crap too.
 

skylock

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ALWAYS reject the first offer. And the second one too for that matter when you hae the appeal of Hammond and May.

But if they think they will get what Clarkson is getting, I don't see that happening. After all, they are second and third bananas really.

It would really be sad though if tg ended over money. And to be honest, without TG, I don't think Richard would do as well as he is. I think he would fade really quickly. Hope I am wrong.
 

stiggie

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...that would be really sad to see the team split up because of money. But on the other hand I can understand May and Hammond if they feel they have the right to a higher wage if Clarkson takes so much money. Top Gear isn't Clarkson alone.

Well said.

For those of us outisde the UK, how reliable is The Guardian?
 

Momo63

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Well said.

For those of us outisde the UK, how reliable is The Guardian?

The Guardian is pretty reliable on media stories (though not on the quality of its sub-editng - hence its nickname the Grauniad!)

However, I thimk these are just fairly standard contract negotiations - I can't imagine that presenters of the profile of these two would ever accept the first offer.
 

anti-net

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I call bullshit, or atleast "not give a damn shit", properly the useal "Yeah but...you could give me more" trick in hope of getting more money

Also before anyone makes a thread saying "ZOMG <insert some presenter here> IS LEAVING" I think if one of the tiro left - there would be no more Top Gear, and that isn't going to happen in a hurry, the BBC want Top Gear, so they'll pay up.
 

upyourego

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I call bullshit, or atleast "not give a damn shit", properly the useal "Yeah but...you could give me more" trick in hope of getting more money

Also before anyone makes a thread saying "ZOMG <insert some presenter here> IS LEAVING" I think if one of the tiro left - there would be no more Top Gear, and that isn't going to happen in a hurry, the BBC want Top Gear, so they'll pay up.

I agree with that to a certain extent BUT politically its a very bad time for the BBC to be offering huge pay deals - especially if there is a chance the Daily Mail or the Guardian find out as the BBC Trust have recently told the BBC they shouldn't be offering big bucks to secure big name stars.

As the TG three are all already established BBC stars it won't cause such a big outcry as they're not trying to steal them from Channel 4 or ITV - but if the other networks offer more money the BBC will be expected NOT to go over the top in bidding and have a clear cut off point.

They did the same thing with Adrian Chiles recenly - said "this is what we're offering" he was offered more by ITV but out of loyalty to the BBC decided to stick with them.
 

James May's Hair

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He claimed: "There has been a lot of pulling out of hair...

Being nasty to James is hardly likely to make him sign a new contract!

There is a fair amount of nonsense in that story:

"The BBC has to be prepared to walk away from deals that do not offer good value."

If that's true, stop paying Jonathan Ross ?4 million for a show that only gets half the viewers of Top Gear.

...it is understood that the BBC has argued that Top Gear is their "power base" for popularity.

Utter nonsense. Hammond was all over the television and getting loads of work before the accident. James is also getting work and his wine programme is now going into a third series.

Here's an idea for the BBC: you've actually got some people who get off their arses and earn their money and in return, they deliver huge ratings - more than the BBC ever thought they would - and a programme YOU can sell around the world. Unlike Graham Norton, who's only talent seems to be his homosexuality and Jonathan Ross who basically churns out the same old rubbish every week. Yet both earn ?4 - 5 million every year.

Also, they can find the money to send 437 people on a jolly to China for the Olympics - how many people are going to watch that? And don't get me started on how much they spent on the big boys outing to Vienna for the European Championships.
 
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Lilleput

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I don't see anyone leaving over payment issues, let's face it, it's the best job in the world and the job that made both Hammond and May famous and it's not like Top Gear takes up all their time they have lots of time to pursue other projects, no one of them seem to be poor either..
 

La Chaton

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I'm sure they'll reach an agreement. BBC gets great ratings from TG and wouldn't want to lose it and for James and Richard it's like a dream job so they wouldn't just leave. And it's not like either of them NEEDS the money anyways.
 

La Chaton

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^ You're right, but it would definitely be a VERY lose-lose situation if they left.
 

anti-net

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I agree with that to a certain extent BUT politically its a very bad time for the BBC to be offering huge pay deals - especially if there is a chance the Daily Mail or the Guardian find out as the BBC Trust have recently told the BBC they shouldn't be offering big bucks to secure big name stars.

As the TG three are all already established BBC stars it won't cause such a big outcry as they're not trying to steal them from Channel 4 or ITV - but if the other networks offer more money the BBC will be expected NOT to go over the top in bidding and have a clear cut off point.

They did the same thing with Adrian Chiles recenly - said "this is what we're offering" he was offered more by ITV but out of loyalty to the BBC decided to stick with them.

I'm sure Hammond could open some more supermarkets to make up the difference ;)
 

Momo63

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/224...rd-Hammond-"may-leave"-BBC-motoring-show.html

Mr May laughed off suggestions that he had not signed his new contract because he was angry about Mr Clarkson's new salary.

"The only reason I haven't signed my contract yet is because it has not yet been finalised," he told The Daily Telegraph. "The current one doesn't expire until the end of July. I'm sure a new one will be sorted out soon."

He added: "I'm not stomping around about Jeremy's contract with BBC Worldwide. Quite frankly, I couldn't give a **** about it."



Breathe everyone, the sensitively haired one has spoken
 
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