Los Angeles, CA — 19 Entertainment and Simon Fuller, creator of ‘American Idol,’ television’s biggest entertainment program for the last nine seasons and one of the most globally recognized entertainment brands, and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, today announced a long-term strategic alliance to increase the development, distribution and marketing of ‘American Idol’s’ musical artists. The announcement was made today by Doug Morris, Chairman & Co-Chief Executive Officer of UMG, Lucian Grainge, Co-Chief Executive Officer of UMG, and by Simon Fuller on behalf of 19 Entertainment.

As part of this multi-year agreement, UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M will market, promote and distribute albums globally from ‘American Idol’s’ finalists and winning contestants across a broad array of retail and new media platforms. Recently, ‘American Idol’ kicked-off auditions for its milestone 10th season as the excitement and renewed interest in the show resulted in over 26,000 hopefuls coming out for their shot at the coveted Idol crown in Nashville and Milwaukee.

Upcoming auditions will be held in Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey and California.

Mr. Fuller comments: “With Idol celebrating our 10th season I wanted to inject some new power and weight behind our brand. We have been quietly delivering hits relentlessly for 9 seasons and Lucian Grainge and Jimmy Iovine’s (Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M) ambition, commitment, and determination to push the boundaries and go even further with Idol was very compelling. It is exciting to have the world’s biggest show partnered with the world’s biggest music company.”

“We like delivering hits and new artists,” stated Mr. Grainge. “UMG and
‘American Idol’ is the right combination at the right time. Pairing the renowned expertise of Simon and Jimmy in developing and marketing musical talent creates a truly winning combination that will allow ‘Idol’s’ artists to realize their fullest potential.”

Since its debut in 2001, ‘America Idol’ has been responsible for selling more music than any other TV show in history, with over 100 million units in North America alone and over 120 million songs on iTunes.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

For all of Deadline's headlines, follow us @Deadline on Twitter.