Could The Voice's bill hit 25million
20:59 GMT, 12 April 2012
The eye-popping 22 million price tag has already caused significant controversy — with many questioning whether the BBC should have spent so much of our licence fee money on one TV show.
But as it develops into a significant hit on Saturday nights, I have been told The Voice will actually end up costing the Beeb much more than initially believed.
Senior BBC sources now admit the cost over two years could rise to as much as 25 million.
The Voice: Jessie J, pictured, and her fellow judges on the show are believed to have signed one-year deals of up to 300,000 each
When the Corporation bought the show from Dutch TV mogul John de Mol last year, it agreed to pay around 11 million to screen the first series this year and the same again for a second series in 2013.
The show’s judges — Jessie J, Tom Jones, will.i.am and Danny O’Donoghue — are believed to have signed one-year deals of up to 300,000 each.
Given the success of The Voice and the focus on these four stars, my sources say they are likely to demand ‘significant pay rises’ to return for series two — which have not been budgeted for.
The cost of the BBC’s marketing and PR campaign to launch the show in direct competition with ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent is also not in the budget.
The Voice judges, from left to right, Danny O'Donoghue, will.i.am, Tom Jones and Jessie J performing I've Got A Feeling on the BBC talent show
Then there is the knock-on effect of giving huge pay rises to the three original Strictly Come Dancing judges — Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood — after they heard what judges on The Voice earned.
Insiders say there is also the potential for the music licencing costs (fees paid to broadcast the many songs used in every episode) to go significantly over budget.
A show insider says: ‘The 22 million figure was before the judges were hired when no one had any idea whether the series would be a success.
‘Now it’s the biggest show on TV, it is naive to think they will return next year without a significant pay hike. That’s how showbusiness works.’
Executives at rival ITV are furious because they wanted it, too.
A BBC source said, at 650,000 per episode, The Voice costs less than The X Factor’s 1 million-per-episode budget.
He added: ‘Every penny has come from the annual budget for entertainment shows, so we haven’t cut back on drama or news to fund it.’
The big move by BBC Breakfast from London to Salford — its first broadcast there was on Tuesday — is still creating problems.
Half the show’s staff, including presenters Sian Williams and Chris Hollins, have left as a result of the move.
BBC Breakfast is struggling to get show guests to travel to the new BBC Media City in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester
Now they’re having trouble getting big-name guests to appear on it.
Most political pundits are reluctant to travel far from Westminster to appear on the show.
And celebrity guest bookers face the same problem.
An insider said: ‘ITV is prepared to pay big money for big guests; we can only pay expenses.
'There are only ever so many stars in Manchester at one time.’
As ITV’s Titanic sinks well below its first week’s ratings, the show’s creative mastermind Julian Fellowes already has his hands full with other projects — which all sound pretty unsinkable.
A scene from Julian Fellowes' Titanic series: The Countess of Manton, played by Geraldine Somerville), and her daughter Georgiana, played by Perdita Weeks, wait to get into a lifeboat
He’s working on a third series of Downton Abbey and directing a film version of Romeo & Juliet, and he tells me: ‘I’ve another two things I am thinking about — another one-off drama and a musical.’
Strictly judge Len Goodman
Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge Len Goodman (right) is preparing to toughen up for the next series.
He has tested out a new Mr Nasty image on Dancing With The Stars, the U.S. version of the show, where he sits on the panel with his Strictly pal Bruno Tonioli.
Producers have loved his tougher approach to judging, but it has caused a storm with viewers.
A show source tells me: ‘Len is getting more like Simon Cowell every day. He has started to be loudly booed by the studio audience which has caused a lot of embarrassment.
‘He was heckled during a recent show by fans, who called for him to be sacked after he criticised one of the couples. ‘But Len is enjoying the new approach — it’s spicing things up.’
New Sherlock: Jonny Lee Miller
THE new U.S. TV version of Sherlock Holmes — called Elementary — sees the famous detective relocate to modern-day New York after battling drug addiction.
The British actor Jonny Lee Miller (right), 39, who played a junkie in the film Trainspotting, takes the title role as a former Scotland Yard consultant who winds up in the Big Apple after dabbling in drugs. A source says: ‘Jonny is a perfect Sherlock. Everyone who has seen him read the script has been blown away.’
Elementary is due to be aired in the U.S. this autumn — but as the BBC wants nothing to do with the show, look out for it on a rival channel.
TV chef Gordon Ramsay wants to go back to India — his first visit was for a Channel 4 documentary.
His time there made him reflect on life, and the controversial restaurant owner wants more.
He said: ‘I’d never seen a dead body before I went and over 33 days I saw seven. It was a huge eye-opener. I enjoyed that vulnerability.
It’s something all chefs should do rather than sit there and ham it up for the camera.’
Despite its ratings slumping significantly, Sky1’s much-talked about musical import Glee is returning for another series.
Glee is returning for another series despite a drop in its viewing figures
But I’m told there is going to be a big shake-up, with many of the student cast (left) being axed in favour of new characters.
My U.S. source explains: ‘Serious changes need to be made to the cast otherwise the show won’t survive another year.’