Prime Minister Gordon Brown has questioned the salaries paid to BBC stars like Jonathan Ross, but said entrepreneurs like Simon Cowell “deserved” their money.
Speaking to Piers Morgan in GQ magazine, Brown – a fan of The X Factor – said Cowell deserved the millions he earned because “entrepreneurs had ideas, then put them into practice”.
But he added there was a feeling of “unfairness” over the sums of money being paid to some TV stars at the BBC.
When asked: “Is it right that someone like Jonathan Ross gets £18m from the BBC?”, Mr Brown said: “The BBC has got to seriously consider its salary structure.”
ITV and BBC have both said that stars’ salaries would be cut this year as part of an ongoing efficiency drive when their contracts came up for renewal.
Last week the BBC also announced it would cut the amount it spends on the salaries of some 640 senior managers by a quarter over the next three-and-a-half years, and shed 18% of its senior managers to save £20m a year.
Separately, Brown said that he was not bothered by Andrew Marr asking him if he took medication for depression, but added: “I’ve been honest about it. I really dislike the trivialisation of politics.”
The full interview is due to be published on Thursday.