I saw this on the news last night while spending some time with my best friend, the LifeCycle 300. Howard Stern was recently awarded an 83 million dollar bonus for meeting a subscriber goal. This is on top of the 5 year, 500 million dollar contract. The funny thing is that the company is not even making any money. A quick trip to Yahoo Finance shows that the stock was 3.75 on the day Howard signed his contract and was 3.79 yesterday. The first profitable quarter was the company was this last one, 4th quarter of '06.
But, I don't mean to begrudge Howard getting paid. Acutally, in a way I'm impressed that he has been able to make hundreds of millions of dollars talking about sex and flatuence. And swearing. Isn't that the American dream after all?
What I find interesting is that I didn't really hear any outrage over the amount that he is being paid. So, my question to you, my loyal readers, is why are CEOs of American companies subject to media outrage for their pay, while the entertainers aren't?
Here is what five minutes of surfing the 'net turned up:
From Forbes.com, Top Entertainer pay for 2006:
1. Speilberg - 332 million
2. Stern - 302
3. Lucas - 235
4. Winfrey - 225
5. U2 - 100
6. Seinfeld - 100
7. Rolling Stones -90
8. Tiger - 90
9. Dan Brown - 88
10. Bruckheimer - 84
11, JK Rowling - 75
14. Tom Cruise - 67
21. Dr Phil - 45
23. Simon Cowell - 43
24. 50 Cent - 41
Also from Forbes.com, Top CEO Pay:
1. Fairbank (Capital One) - 249 million
2. Semel (Yahoo) - 230
3. Silverman (Cendant) - 139
4. Karatz (KB Home) - 135
5. Fuld (Lehman Bros) - 122
6. Irani (Occidental) - 80
7. Ellison (Oracle) - 75
8. Thompson (Symantec) - 71
9. Crawford (Caremark) - 69
10. Mozolia (Countrywide) - 69
24. Sharer (Amgem) - 34
I honestly wasn't expecting that there would be such a gap. The top 25 CEOs on average make less then their counterparts in the land of entertainment. So where is the outrage? I did a quick Google Search on CEO Pay Congressional Hearings. I checked the first 21 pages and all had relevent hits detailing article sand stories about how outrageous CEO pay must be stopped and Congressional oversight must take place. Or the sky will fall on us all.
I did another Google Search on Entertainer Pay Congressional Hearings. Lots of hits. Zero relevant results. So I tried Celebrity Pay Congressional Hearings. Guess how many relevant? Zippo. Zilch. Nada. I even just looked at Celebrity Pay and couldn't find anything even remotely negative.
I guess I'm missing something. The heads of companies that make the products/services/etc that we buy everyday are demons, money grubbers, and selfish jerks for running profitable companies that provide a livelyhood for millions of Americans. Celebrites that entertain us are just getting paid. Getting theirs. Living the dream.
Why aren't we demanding that Congress that look into why Celebrities are getting paid so much? Seriously, I don't get it. They have a talent that others don't? Agreed, but sucessfully running a company that employs tens of thousands takes a little bit of talent too. Celebrities work harder so they earn it more? Yeah right.
Here is the only reason that I can come up with. We see these people on tv, in the paper, in magazines, on the Internet and the Ebay, and since they are good looking we like them. CEOs are the evil guys in pinstripe suits trying to figure out how to cut pay for their workers so they can get a bigger bonus. Easy target so to speak.
So, I'm going to write Nancy Pelosi and ask her to look into this issue for me. I think we need Congress to get right on this. After all, what problem isn't immediately solved by a little bit of Congressional oversight? I for one want Lucas to have to answer for Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars I.