How much Australia’s top TV stars get paid

Despite a 73 per cent decline in ratings since MasterChef began in 2009, judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan demanded a 40 per cent raise.

The 2009 grand finale when suburban mum Julie Goodwin won the first trophy drew in 3.75 million people, compared to last night's paltry 992,000 viewers.

To compare, Ninja Warrior had just 100,000 less viewers and that was just a regular Tuesday night episode.

Former MasterChef Judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris reportedly demanded a 40 per cent raise. Picture: Lachie Millard
Former MasterChef Judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris reportedly demanded a 40 per cent raise. Picture: Lachie Millard

But still, all three judges demanded pay increases to take their annual pay packet up to $1.5 million.

Filming for the show takes four months and obligations during airing are minimal, aside from the occasional interview or photo shoot.

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Their $1.5 million pay rise would put them on more than $100,000 per week, each.

During airing they are also free to continue earning, hosting and speaking at events that can pay six figures.

Lisa Wilkinson is rumoured to earn $2.3 million for her role on The Project.
Lisa Wilkinson is rumoured to earn $2.3 million for her role on The Project.

They are also three of the few Channel 10 employees who are not contracted to cross promote or take on multiple roles, such as Grant Denyer, Julia Morris, Chris Brown and Osher Gunsberg who are all on multiple shows.

To compare, Sunrise host of 17 years David Koch is reportedly on $1 million per year, for the whole year's work, with only six weeks break on average, approximately $21,600 per week.

His co-host of six years Sam Armytage is reportedly on $500,000 per year, approximately $10,800 a week.

The Project panellists Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly are on a similar pay packet to Armytage.

Sam Armytage: Rumoured to be on $500,000 per year.
Sam Armytage: Rumoured to be on $500,000 per year.

Meanwhile Lisa Wilkinson, who joined the show in 2017 after demanding the Today show pay her equally to her co-host Karl Stefanovic, is rumoured to earn $2.3 million for her role on The Project - at least $50,000 per week.

Exorbitant, but still less than half of what the MasterChef judges were demanding to be paid per week.

Karl Stefanovic's widely reported salary is $2 million per year, about $45,000 per week.

 

$2m a year: Karl Stefanovic. Picture: Tara Croser.
$2m a year: Karl Stefanovic. Picture: Tara Croser.

 

Veteran A Current Affair host Tracey Grimshaw is reported to earn between $650-$700,000 for her five days a week behind the desk, around $15,000 per week.

Media Watch host Paul Barry is paid around $200,000 a year by the ABC, a number that has been criticised in the past due to Barry's 15 minutes on air per week. His weekly take is about $4300 per week.

Chris Brown and Julia Morris are allowed to appear on various shows.
Chris Brown and Julia Morris are allowed to appear on various shows.

My Kitchen Rules, arguably the Channel 7 equivalent of MasterChef, have never revealed judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel's salaries, however industry sources estimate it would be similar, if not slightly more, than Calombaris, Preston and Mehigan.

It seems the real money is in radio, though.

Alan Jones, Kyle Sandilands, Jackie O, Kate Langbroek, Amanda Keller, Dave Hughes are all reported to be earning in the millions per year.



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