23 JULY 2007

Home-grown stars Daniel Craig and Simon Cowell had reason to celebrate this week after being named top earners in their respective professions. Bond actor Daniel became Britain's highest-paid actor after signing a multi-million-pound deal to play 007 in the next three secret agent flicks.

And music mogul Simon is enjoying an equally lucrative career in the US, having been named the second highest-paid star on American TV after Oprah Winfrey - taking home £22.5 million a year.

The 47-year-old record industry exec's earning power has been boosted to dizzy heights thanks to sales of the syndication rights to American Idol, which has aired in over 46 countries. The top-rated programme on screens across the pond, it lays claim to more than 30 million viewers.

Meanwhile Chester-born Daniel has been given a massive pay rise after his ice-cool portrayal of James Bond helped Casino Royal become the highest-grossing Bond film of all time, taking £300 million at the box office.

When the 39-year-old actor was unveiled as Pierce Brosnan's replacement, Bond enthusiasts were sceptical he could do the role justice. His performance in Casino Royal soon put any doubts to rest, however. And he will take home an estimated £5 million for his next outing as 007 and £8 million for his third film - double the sum originally negotiated.

Despite his huge success playing the tough special agent, Daniel recently spoke about his concerns over being typecast. "I don't want to make just spy films," he admitted. But if his post-Bond CV is anything to go by, he needn't worry. The Bafta nominee has lensed sci-fi thriller The Invasion, fantasy adventure The Golden Spyglass, and has recently signed up to play the part of the devil in dark comedy I Lucifer, which begins shooting in the autumn.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The handsome Bond star will net £13 million for his next two outings as 007, making him the UK's highest-paid actorPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Meanwhile only mega-successful American chat show host Oprah Winfrey outranks Simon, who's been named the second highest earner on US TVPhoto: © Getty Images