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TV presenter Television presenter

TV presenters work in television, introducing and hosting programmes, interviewing people and reporting on issues and events.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. Competition for jobs is strong though so you will need determination, persistence and the ability to network and promote yourself.

Some presenters move into TV from other areas of the media like journalism or media research.

You may need a degree or detailed knowledge if you want to work as a presenter for specialist programmes like science, history or property development.

You could gain presenting experience through:

Broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, insight and talent days which can give you a better understanding of the industry.

Drama school, acting lessons and short courses in presenting can be helpful for learning some of the skills you’ll need.

You could start working in TV in another role like runner to gain experience and build up your network of contacts. Some broadcasters hold competitions to find new presenters.

You’ll usually need a showreel featuring clips of yourself on camera to show to broadcasters, producers and agents that you may want to work with.

Creative Skillset has more information on working as a TV presenter.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • the ability to improvise when necessary
  • research and interviewing skills
  • calmness under pressure
  • a good memory, for recalling scripts and facts
  • the ability to work on more than one task at a time

3. What you'll do

You could work on different kinds of live or pre-recorded programmes, including:

  • news and current affairs
  • sport
  • music shows
  • talk shows
  • children's entertainment
  • game shows
  • special interest programmes like travel or history

Your day-to-day tasks would depend on the type of show you present, but may include:

  • meeting with the production team to go through the running order
  • being briefed by researchers, or preparing your own scripts, links and interview questions
  • rehearsing
  • presenting, which may include reading from an autocue, interviewing guests and working with studio audiences
  • reacting to instructions given to you through an earpiece by the director or floor manager
  • going through several 'takes' if necessary
You’ll usually follow a script, but you may sometimes have to use your initiative, like in an interview or live report.

4. Salary

You’ll usually work on a freelance basis and be paid a fee for each contract. 

Rates will depend on the type of production you’re working on and what you or your agent can negotiate.

Equity and the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) have information on pay guidelines.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your hours will depend on the schedule of the programme you’re working on. Hours may be long and irregular, and include early mornings, late nights and weekends.

You could work in air-conditioned TV studios, or outdoors in all weather conditions on outside broadcasts (OB).

6. Career path and progression

With an established TV career, you could branch out into radio work, acting, or writing for newspapers and magazines.

With experience you could also choose to move into other areas within the media industry like production.

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Last updated: 21 March 2017