Graham Norton is set for a huge windfall after his production company, So Television, was bought by ITV for more than £10million.
As well as Norton’s own chat show, the company’s makes The Sarah Millican Programme and Alexander Armstrong’s Big Ask. The company also organises live shows – taking Thom Tuck, Deborah Frances-White, Tiffany Stevenson and sketch act Shirley & Shirley to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
ITV Studios will pay £10million upfront for the company with up to £7million more if it achieves profit targets between now and 2016.
The company was co-founded by Norton and producer Graham Stuart in 2000, and the pair are still directors. It made a pre-tax profit of £1.22million in the year to the end of July 2011 – the last accounts filed at Companies House – a 42 per cent rise on the previous year.
Norton took home £2.55million from the company, including dividends, presenter fees, production fees and royalties.
In a statement, Norton said: ‘So Television has been our baby for 12 years, so I'm thrilled that the ITV family has decided to take it under their wing and help it blossom.’
The ITV Studios UK managing director, Denise O'Donoghue, said: "So Television is known for its creative rigour and intense quality-control across its programming, whether that is its crown jewel, The Graham Norton Show, or its newer but no less brilliant The Sarah Millican Television Programme.’