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Fox & ‘American Idol’ Creator Resolve ‘X-Factor’ Lawsuit

By | Friday March 29, 2013 @ 4:51pm PDT

The legal battle between American Idol creator Simon Fuller and Fox over The X-Factor is over. Sources confirm to Deadline that the two sides have reached a confidential settlement and are moving to have the case dismissed with prejudice. Fuller filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the network and the production company Freemantle Media over The X-Factor just before it was set to debut in America. The July 20, 2011 complaint claimed that Fox and Fremantle went back on a 2005 promise to put in writing that Fuller would receive an executive producer credit and a hefty fee on any American version of X Factor. At that time Fuller was suing X-Factor creator and now former American Idol judge Simon Cowell in the U.K. for copyright infringement and breach of contract over what the Idol creator calls “striking similarities” between the Pop Idol and X Factor formats. The 2005 agreement was intended to make peace between the two Brits as Idol started to explode Stateside The peace held six years until Cowell moved to Read More »

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Simon Fuller’s Company Hires Head Of Marketing

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 4:00am PDT

Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment has appointed Jed Selkowitz as SVP Strategic Marketing. Selkowitz will oversee business development of the XIX Entertainment portfolio in North America, reporting to Fuller and XIX president Robert Dodds. Selkowitz was most recently Director, Entertainment Marketing for Coca-Cola North America.

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Lionsgate, Simon Fuller To Develop TV Musical Drama About Rock Band

By | Wednesday May 9, 2012 @ 10:26am PDT

SANTA MONICA, CA, May 9, 2012 — Continuing the diversification of its highly successful television business, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, is partnering with television and music entrepreneur and producer Simon Fuller to develop a contemporary television musical drama chronicling the lives and loves of a young California rock-and -roll band, the two partners announced today.

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Simon Cowell Plans ‘X Factor’ Stage Musical

By | Monday September 19, 2011 @ 7:25am PDT

Simon Cowell may soon have a new venue to go head-to-head with his longtime rival, American Idol creator Simon Fuller: Both are planning musicals for London’s West End. Cowell wants to build a stage show around his global franchise X Factor. Cowell has approached Brit comedian Harry Hill to write the book and comedy music producer Steve Brown — who has worked with UK X Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson — to come up with musical ideas. Cowell’s production company Syco tells me that it’s still in “very early discussions” about the show. Hill fronts popular ITV comedy TV Burp. Its latest season starts airing soon — right before the current UK run of The X Factor. The comedian pokes fun at clips of the previous week’s TV shows, often singling out Cowell’s music contest. Brown wrote the music for TV Burp and has also written for Cowell’s regular UK TV presenters Ant’n’Dec, so it’s all very much in the family.

Fuller — who is suing for an executive producer credit on the U.S. version of X Factor — is a step ahead with his planned West End stage musical Viva Forever, based on the songs of his pop group the Spice Girls. Producer Judy Craymer, who dreamed up the worldwide Mamma Mia! phenomenon, begins workshops next month and hopes to open Viva Forever by March 2013. The show promises “a glimpse of the underbelly of TV talent shows.” Brit TV comedian Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) has written the book. Read More »

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BMG Continues Music Publishing Buying Spree With Bug Music

By | Monday September 12, 2011 @ 6:02am PDT

There seems to be no stopping the acquisition tear by Bertelsmann’s BMG Rights Management: It appears to have outbid American Idol creator Simon Fuller to buy Bug — the quirky independent music publishing company whose library includes “What a Wonderful World,” “Fever” and “Happy Together.” Although the companies didn’t disclose the sale price, Reuters said Bug was expected to fetch about $300M. BMG has a lot on its plate: It’s said to still be in the running to buy EMI, the recorded music and publishing powerhouse that Citigroup is auctioning. Early this year it bought publishing rights for Carly Simon and administration rights to Notable Music (which includes musicals such as Sweet Charity and pop hits such as “Sunny”). But with Bug, BMG may have to grapple with a new lawsuit in California Superior Court from singer-songwriter Bruno Mars. He says that his publishing contract with Bug expired early this year when the company faied to renew it before a contractually set deadline. Private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts is a major investor in BMG. Here’s the release announcing the Bug deal: Read More »

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It’s Official: Jennifer Lopez Signs Deal To Return To ‘American Idol’

By | Wednesday August 17, 2011 @ 9:38am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After lengthy negotiations, Fox today officially announced what everyone already knew by now: that Jennifer Lopez will return as a judge on American Idol next season alongside Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. The upcoming 11th season of Idol, hosted once again by Ryan Seacrest, will premiere on Sunday, Jan. 22, following the NFC Championship Game. “Having both Jennifer and Steven return to Idol in 2012 alongside Randy is such a positive reflection on what was a wonderful and hugely successful season last year,” said series creator/executive producer Simon Fuller. Added Fox’s president of alternative programming Mike Darnell: “From the very first day of auditions, we knew we had something special in our new judges panel, and we’re so happy that America felt that way too. Together with Ryan — who is fantastic day in and day out — they built an incredible connection with both the contestants and our viewers, and I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome them all back to Idol for another season.” Idol, which received 10 Emmy nominations this year, starts the audition process for next season Aug. 26 in Houston.

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UPDATED: ‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller Sues Fox & Fremantle Over ‘X Factor’

By | Wednesday July 20, 2011 @ 1:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

2ND UPDATE 1:15 PM: Simon Fuller’s legal battle with Fox and FremantleMedia is quickly turning nasty, with the two sides throwing salvos at each other. Would they be able to bury the hatchet and maintain a decent working relationship on the upcoming 11th season of American Idol while the legal fight is going on? Here is the latest: Fuller’s attorney fired back at Fox and FremantleMedia’s claims that his lawsuit is without merit. “Fox’s position that Fuller’s claim lacks merit because the parties have not “approved” him as executive producer is absurd,” Fuller’s attorney Dale Kinsella said in a statement. “Fox is contractually obligated to approve Fuller as executive producer and compensate him accordingly, and it is because of the breach of the 2005 binding agreement that the case was filed. Fox appears to be admitting openly that they have failed to honor the contract terms.” And in the end, the spat may come down to Simon vs. Simon just like the original litigation between Fuller and Cowell in the U.K. Word is the key third party that had to give approval for Fuller’s EP credit on The X Factor to go through was Cowell and he didn’t. Of course, Cowell is not part of the new lawsuit, so it will come down to dissecting any and all contingencies built into Fuller’s 2005 agreement with Fox and Fremantle.

UPDATE 10:15: Fox and FremantleMedia just issued a statement in response to Simon Fuller’s X FactorRead More »

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JLo and Marc Anthony’s Split Won’t Affect Their Reality Series With Simon Fuller

Nellie Andreeva

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s surprise announcement yesterday that they’re ending their marriage after 7 years won’t affect their first major TV project together, the international talent show ¡Q’viva! The Chosen they’re doing with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and Endemol. The series, in which Lopez and Anthony search for undiscovered talents in 21 countries across Latin America, has not been completed, with the singers set to film it later this year. “They’re both committed to ¡Q’viva! and will work on it as planned,” a spokesman for XIX Entertainment said. “The show goes on!”. XIX Entertainment is yet to lock English- and Spanish-language U.S. networks to carry the show, and the publicity surrounding Lopez and Anthony’s split may actually help line up distributors.

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Endemol To Co-Produce Simon Fuller, JLo & Marc Anthony’s International Reality Series

Nellie Andreeva

Endemol has partnered with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment on the international talent show ¡Q’viva! The Chosen, starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Endemol will be XIX’s production partner across the 21 Latin American countries where the series will be filmed as Lopez and Anthony search for undiscovered talents. Additionally, Endemol will distribute ¡Q’viva! The Chosen internationally as a finished show (the series will be filmed in English, Spanish and Portuguese to launch simultaneously on television networks across North, Central and South America) as well as a format. In the US, XIX is in negotiations with English- and Spanish-speaking networks to carry the series.

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‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller Launches Joint Venture With Chris Blackwell

By | Monday June 13, 2011 @ 6:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (June 13, 2011) – Two of the world’s most influential forces in the global entertainment industry – Simon Fuller and Chris Blackwell – today announced the formation of a new joint venture that will create an independent partnership model for artists and content owners in the music and entertainment industries aimed at putting them in full control of their careers and their businesses for the first time.

The new venture – Blackwell Fuller, Inc. – will take the form of a new content company focused on working with artists looking to develop and nourish the connection points between them and their audiences. Fuller and Blackwell have already identified several opportunities to partner with important artists and iconic brands and will be announcing the first of these initiatives in the coming months.

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Ryan Seacrest’s Huge Salary Contributes To ‘American Idol’ Profit Swoon At CKX

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest’s fat contract with CKX — the quirky company that owns the rights to the show — seems to have done a number on Idol’s profits. Despite all the upbeat talk about Idol’s ratings resurgence so far this year, the show’s 1Q operating profit for CKX of $13.6 million was down 17% vs. the same period last year on revenues of $28.4 million, down 2%. Publicly traded CKX breaks out results for Idol because it accounts for about 53% of the company’s revenues, which also include licensing income for Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. The report is as good a barometer as you’ll find for Idol‘s economic performance: CKX collects a license fee from Fox, as well as revenue for Idol-related syndication, sponsorship deals, merchandise and its concert tours. But CKX’s 48% operating profit margin for Idol in the three months that ended in March was the lowest 1Q result for the show since 2006, when CKX began reporting the show’s finances. CKX says that its Idol-related expenses came to $14.8 million. That’s up 17% from last year — and 260% from two years ago. The biggest change appears to be the $45 million employment contract that CKX struck with Seacrest in 2009 that locks him in through 2012. CKX has already paid Seacrest $33.5 million; Fox, in turn, pays CKX $5 million a year for Seacrest. Read More »

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Simon Fuller, Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Team With Jamie King For Trilingual Reality Series ‘Q’Viva! The Chosen’

By | Tuesday April 26, 2011 @ 8:48pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment will announce tomorrow morning that it has partnered with music star couple Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony and top music tour director and choreographer Jamie King for Q’Viva! The Chosen, a Latin-flavored performing competition reality series that had been in the works for a while. As part of the show, Lopez and Anthony will spend three months traveling  the Americas to select performers — singers and dancers — from different nationalities. Their search will be documented on the show, which will be filmed in three languages and broadcast simultaneously across 21 countries in North America, Central America and South America. The producers note that they have “collaborative partnership of networks, reaching an audience of many millions of TV viewers,” but said those partners will be announced later. “This is a show for the 21st century with an unprecedented global and local story,” Lopez said. “The Latin culture is a tapestry that is rich in passion, tradition and artistry. We are going to places where all of this talent lives and wouldn’t have otherwise been discovered. This journey for me and Marc is going be exciting and groundbreaking.” Lopez is yet to commit to another season of American Idol, where she serves a judge, but Q’Viva! will probably not get in the way if she decides to do so as Idol judges have a long summer hiatus, during which Lopez could film Q’Viva!.Read More »

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Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony Developing Latin American Singing Competition Series With ‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller

By | Thursday April 21, 2011 @ 9:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Wonder how Jennifer Lopez became a judge on American Idol? About a year ago, the singer and her husband Marc Anthony teamed with Idol creator Simon Fuller to develop Que Viva, a reality singing competition series scouring Latin America for music talent. It was while the trio was working on that project that the idea of Lopez as an Idol judge came about. With the singer signing for the Fox reality series, Que Viva was put on the back burner but remains in development. It is yet to be set up at a network. Meanwhile, Anthony has had constant presence on Idol this season, often helping coach the contestants.

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Simon Fuller To Manage ‘American Idol’ Winner

By | Tuesday March 29, 2011 @ 8:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

American Idol creator Simon Fuller, who hasn’t personally managed a contestant on the show since 2009 runner-up Adam Lambert, will be back managing this year’s winner on the singing competition series. Fuller has previously managed such Idol winners/standouts as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, David Cook and Chris Daughtry.

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‘American Idol’ Owner Reports $16M Loss

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 7:21am PST

Fox may be pinching itself that American Idol is doing so well in the ratings, but its owner CKX is feeling the pain. Los Angeles-based CKX has reported a $15.7 million loss last year, compared to a $22.8 million profit the year before. Most of this came from the one-off winding-up costs of shrinking American Idol creator Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment; Fuller still oversees American Idol but as a consultant. CKX has closed 19’s offices in London and New York, making 23 people redundant, with an annual savings of about $20 million a year from now on. Revenue also fell in 2010, by 17% to $273.7 million. CEO Michael Ferrel told investors in a conference call, “We wanted to get all the bad news in this press release out of the way.”

Last week’s American Idol enjoyed the biggest Thursday night audience of any TV network show in the past four years, Ferrel told investors. This year’s season ends in May, which is when negotiations with Fox will begin over the series’ 11th cycle. This year’s American Idol tour is booked for 40 dates so far but may well extend to 45-50 given the renewed interest in the show.

CKX had a rollercoaster year in 2010 with Fuller leaving to set up his new company XIX in January. Four months later he tried to buy CKX himself, but was up against Robert Sillerman, CKX’s ex-CEO, who resigned in May to … Read More »

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Simon Fuller On ‘American Idol’ Season 10 So Far: ‘We Wanted To Lose The Negativity’

Nellie Andreeva

When a show heads into its 10th season, you brace for ratings declines. When it heads into its 10th season and loses its biggest star, you brace for the worst. Well, by that measure, Fox’s American Idol has done pretty well. After the public spectacle that the search for new judges became, playing out like a soap opera over the summer, there was a lot of skepticism whether the veteran reality show would collapse following the departure of star judge Simon Cowell. Airing in a new Wednesday-Thursday pattern, Idol did start off down from last season but has since held steady and pretty close to last year’s numbers except for last week which a year ago featured Ellen DeGeneres’ debut as an Idol judge. But it’s still unclear how the 2011 Idol‘s extreme makeover for Season 10 will fare with two new judges (Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler), a new showrunner (returning Nigel Lythgoe), new lower age limit (15), new record company (Universal) and new mentor (Jimmy Iovine, who showed similiarities to grumpy Cowell in his debut on the show tonight). And the changes aren’t done. Word is Idol has inked a deal with Facebook to move its rather antiquated phone voting system to the Web and is also planning to actively use Twitter. In a written Q&A with me, Idol creator/executive producer Simon Fuller declined to discuss any Idol voting … Read More »

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HOW IRONIC: Spice Girls Musical Will Expose “Underbelly Of TV Talent Shows”

By | Friday September 3, 2010 @ 2:50am PDT

Jennifer Saunders, creator of TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous, started writing the book for stage show Viva Forever yesterday. Producer Judy Craymer is hoping this new Spice Girls musical, due to open in London’s West End 2012, will repeat the success of Mamma Mia! Her people tell me that Saunders’ treatment is “a glimpse of the underbelly of TV talent shows. It’s all about the pursuit of fame and a moving look at celebrity today”. The irony it was Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls’ manager and the man who’s probably more responsible than any other for the glut of TV talent shows, who first mooted the idea of a Spice Girls musical to Craymer. Fuller is partnering Craymer, the Spice Girls and Universal Music on the show. Blimey, talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

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Geffen Coulda (Shoulda) Been ‘Idol’ Judge

EXCLUSIVE: Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment are locking in their American Idol judges with each passing day. But I’ve learned that the show really wanted but didn’t snag the best judge possible — David Geffen. My sources say that, about 4 months ago, Idol producer Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment first approached the one time founder of both Asylum Records (Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt) and Geffen Records (Donna Summer, John Lennon, Elton John, Cher,  Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Guns N’ Roses, Lifehouse, Nirvana) and former principal of DreamWorks SKG. The two men met twice, and Fuller tried his best to talk Geffen into taking the judging gig left vacant by Simon Cowell. I hear the multibillionaire who rarely gives interviews or appears on television asked Fuller perplexed: “Why should I do this?”

As soon as Cowell announced his departure from Idol to bring his own music show The X Factor to Fox, the network and 19 and Fremantle sought a new judge who was a music mogul, like Tommy Mottola, Guy Oseary, and Jimmy Iovine. But Geffen would have trumped them all. “It would have been his if he’d wanted it,” a source tells me. “Because Cowell is a bad imitation of David.” I couldn’t agree more: Geffen would have been a natural: he’s often brutally honest, he is a legendary talent spotter, and he’s forgotten more about the music biz than Cowell will ever know in a lifetime. … Read More »

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Universal Music & ‘Idol’ Enter Long Pact

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

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