Carol Vorderman faced 90% Countdown pay cut
Countdown star Carol Vorderman has stepped down from her role as co-host on the TV game show after she was told to take a 90 per cent pay cut, it has been claimed.
According to her manager, Miss Vorderman, who has been with the programme for 26 years and lives near Portishead and owns a flat in Clifton, was told to take the pay cut or stand down.
Manager John Miles, based in Clapton-in-Gordano, says the demand was made 12 days ago by ITV Productions, the producers of the Channel 4 show, who gave Miss Vorderman 48 hours to make her decision.
Miss Vorderman, 47, earned £1.2 million a year for 40 days' work and on average, she would record five programmes a day.
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Mr Miles said: “On July 16 my office received the first offer of a new contract from ITV Productions.
“It was a harsh fait accompli – take a 90 per cent pay cut, you have 48 hours until noon on July 18 to make up your mind. It was a non-negotiable take-it-or-leave it offer.
“I discussed the options with Carol but she expressed a desire to stay.
“On July 18 we were still considering the ITV Productions offer when they said, 'Countdown easily survived without Richard Whiteley. It can easily survive without you.' It was that callous.”
Contrary to initial reports that suggested Miss Vorderman was not happy with her salary, Mr Miles said she was prepared to accept a one-third pay cut, in line with a 33 per cent budget cut imposed on the show.
Miss Vorderman, who was the first woman to appear on Channel 4 when it launched in 1982, said: “Countdown is a very special programme. It's been a huge part of my life. I am allowing my manager to release this statement so that the Countdown viewers and all the team know the truth. I am devastated that my joyous time with one of the best programmes on TV has ended in this way. I was happy to continue doing the numbers and letters for years to come. I wish all of my friends and colleagues every success in the future, I'll miss them all.”
Nobody from ITV Productions was available for comment and a Channel 4 spokesman said: “We never discuss presenters' salaries.”