This article detailing the fierce rivalry between Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell from the Financial Times is a must read. Check out a few clips.
- Read the entire article at the Financial Times HERE.
It’s a love/hate relationship, but these days, it’s more hate than love:
But despite the two men’s riches, they remain fiercely competitive with each other. “Their relationship is the weirdest I’ve ever seen in this business, ” says a senior TV executive who worked closely with the two on Idol. “They’ve known each other for 20-plus years and there will be periods of time when they will be close and confiding in each other. But three weeks later they will be trying to kill each other. And then, after that, they will suddenly be back together again.”
This time, though, the split looks definitive. Each man refuses to talk about the other. Indeed they rarely talk at all: turning down interview requests from publications including the FT. The secrecy that surrounds their relationship, I discovered, after spending weeks talking to friends and colleagues, shrouds a complex web of connections, rivalries and alliances.
More on Idol’s new music partner, Universal Music Group. Idol’s old label, Sony will be releasing music from Simon’s X Factor contestants:
Lucian Grainge, the co-chief executive of UMG has found himself in the middle of the shifting Cowell-Fuller relationship. He is friends with both men: his London home is near Fuller’s and he has holidayed with Cowell and Sir Philip Green at Sandy Lane, the Barbados resort frequented by millionaires, media moguls and sports stars.
But it is also because of an enhanced role for UMG. Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records – a division of UMG – and the producer of albums by U2, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, will play a pivotal role “mentoring” finalists. “There will be more focus on the craft and beauty of the artist development, songs and arrangements, ” claims Grainge. “We’re going to have a competition different to anything, anywhere.”
Will FOX continue to fully support Idol, or has their interest cooled?
Publicly, Fox has been very enthusiastic about the new Idol series. But word is that behind the scenes Peter Rice, entertainment chairman of Fox Broadcasting, has cooled on the show. “He wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as he was when he first came into the job, ” a TV executive told me.
Amongst the network executives the FT interviewed, there’s doubt that Idol can survive the loss of Simon Cowell. Also, a source close to Cowell and Fuller theorizes, if X Factor US becomes hugely successful, Idol could lose some of it’s power and leverage with the network.
The article also details the intertwining histories of the two Simons, and the events that eventually fractured their friendship (Fuller sued Cowell after the surly judge began producing X Factor in the UK).
Although X Factor and Idol will air in the fall and spring respectively, there will still be competition for advertising dollars. And, the artists the two shows produce will definitely be competing once their CDs make it to the marketplace. Plus, I’m anticipating an all-out ratings war between the Simons, whether is affects their individual bottom lines or not.
The war has just begun. Idol producer, Nigel Lythgoe fired the first shot, blasting Simon Cowell in the press today. Will Simon respond? Stay tuned.