Simon Cowell Offered Big Money to Stick with Idol

The New York Post reports this morning that Simon Cowell, who is in the midst of renegotiating his American Idol contract beyond the 2010 season, has been offered between $100 million and $144 million per year.

The figures come from London newspaper, The Guardian:

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A source close to Fuller says that Cowell has already been offered three to four times the $36m he was paid for American Idol in 2008 – but then, he is the most important person on the show and the series makes $900m a year and attracts audiences of 25 million.

Those figures sound reasonable to me. I could see Fuller offering to make Simon and his production company Syco, a partner in the show.

About mj santilli 33696 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

52 Comments

  1. first to comment…Simon’s job must be greatest in the world cos who knows someone can get paid $100 million per year just to draw moustaches in Paula Abdul’s face :huh_tb:

  2. That is insane. They must think he IS the show. But not for me. I thought Simon was terrible last year, and terribly bored the few years before that. I’d cut him loose. The show is declining slowly anyway so might as well take some chances and change things up. A little more focus on the contestants would be nice. Can it really be that hard to find a straight talking music exec?

  3. lol yes SarahP. And here I went to college and grad school. I picked the wrong career path it looks like!! lol

  4. Wow. Just wow. Like Simon needs the money. :P

    Still, I can’t imagine Idol without Simon, and clearly Simon Fuller agrees. Depending on how S9 goes, it might be time to move on…

    Yeah, grad school didn’t pay big dividends for me, either. :)

  5. And Obama and the Dems think people making $250,000 a year are “rich” and should pay more taxes!! just sayin’ :wallbash_tb:
    Does anyone even need that much money?

  6. That is an obscene amount of money. I get nosebleeds thinking of that kind of regular income! And it’s in addition to what he gets from Britain’s got Talent and all his other enterprises.

    Is he worth it? Well, I guess we’ve put him where he is by making the show such a hit – so in the end the fault is ours. ;-)

  7. Simon Cowell, imo is the making and the breaking of the show, without him I doubt the show would survive, and as such I think he is worth every penny.

  8. I thought Simon was terrible last year.

    Ditto. Until S8, I thought he was pretty much spot on, but I think he’s lost his touch (ie., Lil Rounds; Michael Sarver; Scott McIntrye; Megan Joy). Or perhaps he’s just grown terribly bored and is no longer paying attention. Either way, kudos to him for pulling in such an obscene salary. Someone obviously thinks he’s worth it.

  9. That is insane. They must think he IS the show. But not for me. I thought Simon was terrible last year, and terribly bored the few years before that.

    I agree that Simon was pretty bad this year. At times, he is the only person worth listening to. But this year, Paula really stepped up her game, and Simon seemed to waver between being absolutely rude to the contestants by not paying attention or joking around too much, or making some truly asinine, off-base comments.

    And I think his leading the chorus of pimpage for certain contestants really hurt them in the end this season (cough*Adam*cough). Sometimes I wish he would just shut up.

    So hopefully he actually takes it more seriously again next year, for the sake of the performers, and hopefully he gets a little wiser with the comments. But this year, imo, was one of his worst.

  10. Ditto. Until S8, I thought he was pretty much spot on, but I think he’s lost his touch (ie., Lil Rounds; Michael Sarver; Scott McIntrye; Megan Joy).

    I don’t if it’s abut losing his touch, I think it’s more about him feeling unchallenged and unhappy. He definitely looked bored for most of the season. I also got the distinct impression that he didn’t favour the 4 judge format.

  11. It’s like his “honest critiques” have become “say something really bad about the ones I don’t like, and tongue-bathe the ones I do”…anyone who gets paid that much to manipulate a show and draw all over Paula…I’m just stupified, really.

  12. unique28v & suebrody: Now you’re telling me – I’m already 1 year into grad school!

    As for Simon, when Idol started I thought he was one of the fairest, though quite often unnecessarily brutal, judge among the three of them. However, beginning from Season 7 and now especially in Season 8, he seemed out of touch and seems to think that all pop start have to be this hugely confident, in-your-face, big-range belter. And the way his assessment seems to be way off mark (of course I’m chugging the Kris Kool-Aid, but I do feel the same bout other contestants etc). And all this was before I started checking out MJs, Grassy Knoll, WNTS etc.

    I think the AI has gotten too big and pompous for itself, forgetting that its basic premise is a singing competition for young hopefuls and not a reality drama show about the antics of a group of judges or drama!tic! contestants. And the overtime, excessive ads/guest performances, additional judge (they’re talking of making it 1 1/2 hours!), and cut down on the number or performances isn’t helping either.

  13. Simon should listen carefully to MJ’s Man in the Mirror and re-watch the video as well.

  14. I am so over Simon. I found him mostly worthless this season. But, I do feel like there is a huge segment of the AI viewership who would not bother watching if he wasn’t on the show, so, there you go.

  15. Simon sucked this year. For the first time since I’ve been watching this show, I felt like the majority of his critiques were totally off. It was weird.

    I don’t really want him to have more control of the production. Simon’s instincts are towards manufactured emotional drama, “characters” and cheese. And while Idol has always been cheesy, it started out a sweet kind of schmaltzy once you got past the auditions. But this year, it was about reality show antics and contestants there on “personality” and OTT backstories. And it was about declaring “winners” an sticking to the script come hell or high water. I still blame Simon for that.

    Now if he ever went back to being the tough but fair judge, I could get with that. They need an original flavor Simon on a show like this.

  16. Got to accept…whether he makes good or bad critique….he is the one who carries the show. He makes the show interesting to watch. Just imagine the other 3 judges who only give praises and are soft in giving negative comments. That will be so boring. Simon is the only one who gives the hard truth and still gets away with it. I don’t think I will watch the show without him either. But it doesn’t matter, I don’t intend to watch AI next season.

  17. I am so over Simon. I found him mostly worthless this season.

    I agree. He wasn’t even paying attention half of the time. His comments weren’t very constructive, and he acted like a 5 year old with Paula.

    I would love to have a panel of judges like SYTYCD. They are constructive and seem to be honest in their opinions. They also treat the kids like valuable human beings. They realize that even if someone does not win, they can still have a career and that any of the kids’ success is good for the show.

  18. I have never thought that Simon was all that great, and certainly not irreplaceable. I would like to see all the judges gone, and different guest judges each week, judges that do not have a personal agenda in the outcome of this show, or in the ratings. I believe that Simon structures his comments to promote certain contestants, and send home others, and he does it well, and usually, achieves the desired results. Thats why the producers want to keep him at all costs. The show might actually become a true contest without Simon to influence the voters.

  19. Holy Moly, that’s a lot of money. If they can spend just a quarter of it on letting us know more about the contestants, clearing more current songs, and inviting better mentors, the show would be so much more enjoyable and the contestants could learn more. Instead they decide to give Simon Cowell all the money, because we the viewers “oh so love” him. (not!) See, this is why I hate TPTB.

  20. Those money figures always amaze me. Imagine if we put that much money to different charities and research for cures? Granted, Simon does work hard but for THAT much money? The money that celebrities make just astounds me.

    But good for Simon, I suppose. They obviously want him and they should pay him a lot. Without him, Idol wouldn’t be the same.

  21. Now if he ever went back to being the tough but fair judge, I could get with that. They need an original flavor Simon on a show like this.

    *nods* uh-huh. ITA!

  22. I still maintain that this show would be soooo much better off without Simon and his ego-driven biases for and against certain contestants. I can’t even watch the show live now, I just DVR it and watch the performances only.

  23. These judges are friggin unprofessional…or at least that’s the way it has come off lately. Seriously, they act like big babies about this.

    Do they not notice that they are already getting made fun of to the max.?

    That is a giant boat load of money, Simon does not need it. I’d say $36 mil is pretty darn good to me for just judging bad and good singers, to have to have his butt in the studio after each commercial and before the show starts at 5pm in his time, and to come up with a top 13 idea or to send 2 people home.. or to decide to have a save in which is only used on the cheese or for as a last resort rather than to save someone actually worthy just because it would have been used early on… I think you can picture who I’m talking about here.

    There is no reason for Simon to leave. He doesn’t need all that money what is he gonna do with it store it under his pillow until it’s time for him to buy a new ferrari?

    Money-hungry that’s what it is. It’s pretty bad when you hear more in the media about the show’s judges leaving the show because they’re poopies rather than a contestan’s success story.

  24. cookcricket
    Jun 30th, 2009 at 11:36 am
    So is Simon officially now the highest paid BSer in entertainment?

    I would think so, cookcricket. Maybe now he will enhance his wardrobe?

  25. I agreed all season with Slezak’s criticism of Simon, it’s so obvious that he’s stuck in another musical era, one were Mariah, Whitney and Celine are all playing endlessly on the radio…his criticism of Allison and the OTT praise for Danny (Vocal Masterclass? What!!!) was proof that he lost his touch…

  26. i can’t even wrap my brain around that kind of money. but living on a grad school stipend makes anything above the poverty line seem like a fortune (hello fellow grad schoolers that commented :bye_tb:)

    im pretty sure if they tried hard enough they could find someone that would be a decent replacement. the replacement would cause buzz the first few episodes to see how/if he/she could replace simon and then if they picked someone good the person would still hold peoples’ attention on their own accord after that. there’s no way he is worth 100 million. that’s just ridiculous.

  27. No, Danny’s YASB was Masterclass. Masterclass Lady said said so herself.

    Simon has a good ear. I just can’t stand how rude he is to contestants sometimes.

  28. Simon worth $144M a year? That would be far more than the entire rest of the AI cast, crew and staff combined!!! Also that means he would make more in one episode than most of us would make in our lifetimes!

    I wonder if the time has come to say goodbye to him…

  29. of course, i think his comment on this girl during the audition round “it was like a cat on top of the empire state building and the noise it makes before it hits the ground” is worth $100 million :wink1_tb:

  30. Even though I think the show would die or at least become severely weakened w/o Simon, I *do not* think he is worth $144M a season especially considering the half-assed job he turned in this year. What a ridiculously large amount of money.

  31. I don’t think Simon is worth this money. I’m not sure fans would leave if Simon left. Yes, some would go (that always happens), but Simon’s judging this year was boring. He was either yeah or neah and not even very interesting or funny about it. He seemed bored the entire season with rare moments of interest. I don’t think he liked the 4 judge format and sulked on that the entire season. And it did not help that Kara was saying more constructive things (once she got past her wordiness and numbers problem).

    I do agree that Simon has a very good ear. I just wish he would have showed more interest and commented more this season.

    If the show is 4 judges next season, and it sounds like it will be, then I am all for a 1.5 hours. They did not end on time once all season. If they have to add time to have them end on time then I’m all for it. And maybe we will get more songs out of the Idols later in the competition. (though my fast forward on my dvr will just be busier I’m sure).

  32. My biggest critique this year may be that they spent WAY too much time on all the judges, Simon included (and, to be fair, he usually talked less than Paula or Kara).

    But still, if one thing could change next year, it would be to have more time with the contestants (either backstory, especially in the early rounds) or actual SINGING (what a concept!) than wasting time with the judges stupid antics. Those few middle rounds where they kept running over time-wise were just ridciculous = we had shorter and shorter songs, but more and more judge ramblings that weren’t particularly amusing or useful.

  33. Wow, that’s a lot of money, but the show wouldn’t work without Simon IMO.

  34. That is an obsence amount of money, but this is a capitalist society, so truthfully, since they don’t turn surplus money back to the viewers they might as well give it to those instrumental in making the show a success. That would be Simon.

    I could barely stand him myself this year, and I am a Simon fangirl, tight tees and all…he needs to step it up, or he will make himself obsolete. Anytime Paula is more lucid, makes you wanna go hmmmm.

  35. A big part of Idol has always been a love/hate relationship with the judges . . . we enjoy it when they praise our favorites, but part of us loves it, or at least gets energized, when we think they’re wrong and we get to “defend” our favorites.

    With Paula and Randy, being “wrong” is usually about being obtuse.
    With Simon, two of his defining characteristics are his meanness and consistently narrow, trivial, out-dated musical taste.

    These two characteristics would make him close to useless in the music biz off-camera, but on camera they have morphed from a bug into a feature. The fact that he dislikes most music and is interested only in marketability means he feels emotionally unrestrained in unleashing rude, memorable, sometimes funny, critiques.

    And ironically, the fact that Cowell is so difficult to please, tempermental, bored, disinterested, and punishing has had the effect of making his occasional praise all the more sought after and valued.

    And that’s been a whole part of the fascination he held for the audience. When he turns his harsh remarks on a poor or mediocre performance, we kind of enjoy seeing it taken apart.

    But we’re historically even more sucked in when he turns his nastiness on a worthy or even great performance. Because it’s so unfair and horrible! Our outrage is part of the emotional drama that addicts us to the show and keeps us dialling. In the same way that dramas need villains–“Lost” is nothing without its heartless, evil Ben–Idol has thrived on subjecting its lovable, talented kids to Cowell’s myriad injustices so that we could become all the more invested in pulling for them.

    That, however, was the Cowell “premise” of the past. The problem is, it’s long-since become a schtick. Repeating the exact same act on three different shows (Idol, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent) in an era of widely circulated video clips, it’s apparent how cheap and thin his routine really is. There isn’t a facial expression, fake burst of indignation, fake moment of sincerity, that hasn’t been recycled over and over again on his shows. He can scarcely be bothered to make the puppet motions on the American show, forgetting the names of contestants, talking during the performances, not bothering to finish critiques so he can get in some petty quip with Abdul or Seacrest.

    If TV rand like major league sports, 19E would decide this contract on a declining, past-his-peak, can’t-be-bothered star was way overpriced, and find out what fresh talent it could buy with its money. Since it’s broadcast TV, with its inherent conservatism, they’re likely to try to hang on to their formula till it dies off, even if it means handing half the profits to Cowell. Good deal for him, the utter twat.

  36. I thought all the judges were odd this year. Many people stated Paula was on top of her game this year, but I felt she was a bit nuerotic. I DVR’d last nights show and Paula was kind to most of the contestants, even adorable Kris with his pitchy moments. Always makes me laugh. His enthusiasm and personality carried that off. I digress. When Paula was nearly in tears after Danny sang, already naming him as a finalist, Simon was level-headed enough to say that they were only three contestants in and she was calling the winner. And then again, with Adam the same statement of the finals and if I heard “soak it all in” while she waved her hand around to the audience one more time, I was going to scream. So for me season 8, Top 13 started off quite badly. The judges most certainly the reason for it. My daughter begged me to keep watching with her. I did, though, I already knew the outcome beforehand, Adam and Danny, if the judges had their way. But then, along came Kris… :::grin:::

  37. Go Simon please go. I think he ruined the season for me. He was a big grump, who looked like he didn’t want to be there. He was just pimping his favorites.

    Let’s be honest, people liked Simon because of his brutal honesty. Last year he was not honest at all. It pained him to give Allison or Kris a compliment.

    Stick a fork in him, he’s done!!!

  38. I think the AI has gotten too big and pompous for itself, forgetting that its basic premise is a singing competition for young hopefuls and not a reality drama show about the antics of a group of judges or drama!tic! contestants

    Thank you! The charm of the show is to find undiscovered talent…to see kids plucked from obscurity and progress each week w. more confidence. Last season was all about the judges and trying to outdo/outjoke each other….and their obvious lack of interest in the show resulted in their OFF BASE critiques.

    I think Simon should get a large sum of that money as a BONUS, forcing him to actually care again about the show. He now needs to redeem himself after Lil’, Megan, JASMINE!!! WTF, and to some extent Danny.

    Then again….Simon has always been a bit off the mark. He was lukewarm about Kelly, passed on Daughtry AND Cook, and never got Allison (or Kris).

  39. Here is the value I do see in Simon. Some mentioned after the rerun of the top13 MJ tribute, that while Lil’s song was very good, Simon’s critique of her outfit may have hindered her in future weeks. I’m also wondering this about Matt. Poor Matt, he followed Adam and Simon had to point this out. To me Matt was wonderful, but different than Adam. I believe Lil and Matt may have let Simon’s remarks get under their skin. Simon has spoken about how tough the music industry is and how his failing in something early on made him work even harder. Perhaps Simon does weed out some of those who may not be able to handle critiques. I’m not saying this is a fact, but I can see how this could work.

    Kris and Adam seemed to let most critiques roll off their, (imo esp. Kris since he received more) and press on to the following week to be even better. Even Adam in his intro vid from top13 said he didn’t think he would have been able to handle this kind of pressure some years earlier.

  40. Perhaps Simon does weed out some of those who may not be able to handle critiques. I’m not saying this is a fact, but I can see how this could work.

    There might be some truth to that. As we have all seen, no matter who you are someone somewhere will always have something very harsh to say about you if you are in the public eye. If you don’t have the kind of personality to stay confident and keep going despite all the chattering and pressure, then the pop star life may not be for you. That may be one of the reasons 19 tends to pass on people we all think were sho-ins every year, and sign people we all say WTF too. LOL. Maybe some of those people are the ones who help up the best.

  41. I think the AI has gotten too big and pompous for itself, forgetting that its basic premise is a singing competition for young hopefuls and not a reality drama show about the antics of a group of judges or drama!tic! contestants

    ITA.

    If you don’t have the kind of personality to stay confident and keep going despite all the chattering and pressure, then the pop star life may not be for you.

    I can see that…but he let Susan Boyle go on and she’s obviously unfit for the limelight, so while it’s maybe a beneficial “side-effect” I don’t think it’s Simon’s main goal.

    I dunno. He was just “off” this year. IMO he certainly doesn’t merit a pay raise like THAT if we’re going by his performance this year.

  42. I think Simon should get a large sum of that money as a BONUS, forcing him to actually care again about the show. He now needs to redeem himself after Lil’, Megan, JASMINE!!! WTF, and to some extent Danny.

    Then again’ ¦.Simon has always been a bit off the mark. He was lukewarm about Kelly, passed on Daughtry AND Cook, and never got Allison (or Kris).

    I agree. I don’t think Simon is good at all at picking out the diamonds in the rough. He thought Kelly Clarkson was forgettable; he wouldn’t have even put Daughtry through to Hollywood; I can’t remember if he voted to put Cook through to Hollywood, but I know for sure that he voted to kick him out during the first H’wood round. So, yeah, I don’t really have much respect for his ability to pick out genuine, bankable musical talent.

  43. Thank goodness for all the Simon hate…thought I was the only one grated by how bored and off he was all year. His comments aren’t even funny or interesting anymore…just mean and completely wrong! Anyone with me on nominating Jim Cantiello @ MTV for the open position?!? GO JC!!

  44. I already knew the outcome beforehand, Adam and Danny, if the judges had their way. But then, along came Kris’ ¦ :::grin:::

    Ryan accurately predicted the Top 4 on Top 13 week on Oprah, March 7th 2-1/2 months before the finale?:

    http://www.rickey.org/?tag=oprah :bigsurprise_ee:

  45. HOLY SHIT!

    That’s a disgusting amount of money. All that to be mean and make fun of Paula? Wow.

  46. Wow, I can’t believe those numbers. Idol must raking in the cash off these kids’ backs (and yes, I believe they understand that’s the tradeoff for the publicity).

    I believe he should be paid more than the other judges, but that’s insane. Plus, he’s been increasingly bored and irrelevant the past couple of years.

  47. Simon is the only one who gives the hard truth and still gets away with it.

    Well, there’s a certain amount of truth to that. Was it not Simon who reportedly said that, as the season progresses, contestants should not expect fair judging? So-o-o, true Simon. But, why put limits on it?! You certainly didn’t last season!

    And I agree that Simon is not very good at sussing out contestants who are diamonds in the rough or people who need a little time to find their groove on stage. (Remember? That’s what the semi-finals used to be all about before they turned them into “one strike and your out-a-here!”) Just look at the difference in Cook from “Happy Together” to “Hello.” However if you’re polished and “plant like” and ready to go, Simon’s your man!

  48. I too feel “over” Simon. But I think it’s over for AI if he doesn’t re-up. He just seems to be an inevitable part of the mix for most people, and who else do you get to do what he does — snarky, smug and craven as it often is?

    But the larger thing is the money. I’m just disgusted by it. We’re living in a period when millions of people can’t afford health insurance, and some can’t afford health care even if they do have insurance. Unemployment is high, people are losing their homes. And though Simon Cowell is certainly not responsible for the Wall Street mania that led to this, the culture of excess is disgusting under these circumstances.

    Just as the absurd salaries that bankers and drug company CEOs and sports stars make me nuts, the celebrity gold rush has just gotten out of hand. What does Simon do with a salary that’s a thousand times what most people earn in a year of hard work? And what are we all paying to advertisers or whomever to make that salary possible?

    The values here are seriously out of whack…. :thumbdown_tb:

  49. Not unless the advertisers contract are locked in regardless of what the ratings will be next year, I do not think American Idol or any other show or company can offer a fixed amount of salary to anyone which would be more than 10% of the company’s previous earnings.

    I would tend to think this would be a percentage of the grosses , and would then be dependent on the shows income . As the shows income is related to ratings plus income from licensing , then it will be a to Simon’s best interest to be a sharp and entertaining judge.

    As American Idol dominates the ratings , their income from advertising will also exponentially increase. If Judges chose contestants that will catch not only the fancy but the rabid support of the viewers, then their licensing income will also increase.

    The figure of $144 million will most likely be the cap or maximum that Simon can gain. There is probably also a minimal amount or a guaranteed earnings which is probably around 30% to max of 50% more than the last contract rate.

  50. Good on him! Glad to see he’s sticking around. He and Paula are part of AI, and when AI takes its final curtain call(Any season now!) I’d like for them 2 to be part of the final season, so works for me

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