POSTED MARCH 7 2010
BIG-EARNING Jeremy Paxman is leading a stampede of BBC news stars to earn a bit extra on the side - and boy do they charge!
While lowlier Beeb staff face cutbacks and job losses, a News of the World investigation reveals Newsnight hardnut Paxo pulls £25,000 AN HOUR for personal appearances on top of his £1 million taxpayer-funded salary.
Our photo gallery price list shows colleagues like Huw Edwards and The One Show grouch Adrian Chiles command similar fees for speaking engagements on the side. Even lowly Radio 2 travel girl Lynn Bowles cops a traffic-stopping £1,000 a time.
Since 2003 BBC rules have decreed staff must ask permission first and should NOT sign up with agencies to promote their services. But prominent corporate agent JLA represents dozens and has only just been forced to remove news presenters and reporters from its website. But it adds: "They are still permitted to take on outside engagements providing it fits BBC guidelines - and many are keen to do so."
Profiles of Paxman, Business Editor Robert Peston and talk show host Andrew Marr have already vanished from the site but a JLA agent assured an undercover reporter they were ALL up for hire.
The Beeb, which announced sweeping cutbacks this week, including the closure of BBC6 Music and the Asian Network and the trimming of BBC online, does not want to risk fresh controversy after weeks of negative headlines.
A BBC source told us last night: "The bosses are going to be jumping all over this. They never used to worry about the news guys going out and earning a bit extra. But with all the controversy over cost-cutting and big salaries it's a sensitive climate at the moment.
"Now these gigs have to be cleared by management and can be really frowned upon."