It is thought the pay freeze will save about £20m
Senior BBC management will not receive any pay rises or bonuses until 2010, as part of a drive to save money, director general Mark Thompson has announced.
In an e-mail to all 400 senior managers, Mr Thompson said "it was not appropriate to award an increase in pay or award a bonus this year".
Staff on lower grades will have pay reviews but will not receive bonuses.
The plan is the latest in a series of proposals by the BBC to cut its costs and save £1.7bn between now and 2013.
Due to the economic downturn, additional savings of £450m are also required.
All staff bonuses will be stopped until at least July 2010. It is thought the pay freeze may save about £20m over the coming 18 months.
"I recognise that the position on senior management pay, and on bonuses across much of the BBC, is a tough message for all of us, but I think that all of you will know the considerations behind it," Mr Thompson said.
"I hope that you will appreciate why we believe that in the current climate, and given the circumstances, this is the right position for the BBC."
He added: "We need to be in as strong a position as possible if we are to deliver distinctive content and meet our key strategic projects, such as moving to the new Broadcasting House, moving network production to the nations and funding our broadband future.
"This exercise will look at additional savings which will come from tighter cost control, lowering overheads and slowing down some of our investment proposals."
Gerry Morrissey, leader of the broadcasting workers' union Bectu, said: "We have never been in favour of bonuses being paid so believe this should happen every year, and the money go towards eradicating low pay.
"We expect our members to receive a pay settlement this year. If they don't, I would anticipate our members taking industrial action."
Unions are about to lodge a claim for a flat rate increase of £1,800 this year to help lower-paid staff.