'American Idol' judge Simon Cowell believed to be close to new deal
By Reality TV World staff, 08/11/2009
After months of speculation about his future with the show, American Idol judge Simon Cowell is believed to be close to signing a new two-year pact that will keep him with the Fox reality competition through its 2012 edition.
CKX, the parent company of American Idol's 19 Entertainment production company, revealed Cowell is believed to be finalizing a new deal to remain with the show during the publicly traded company's second quarter earnings call on Monday.
"We've heard from Fox, who has asked us for approval for Simon Cowell to appear for three more years on Idol," CKX chairman and CEO Robert Sillerman said during the call.
"As you know, Fox pays for the judges. They have, in their negotiations with Cowell, asked us to pre-approve him not only for American Idol 9, which has begun taping, but they have also asked us for approval for [Seasons] 10 and 11 -- indicating to us that they're finishing their negotiation with Cowell -- and we did grant approval for that quite obviously."
"So with that development, with Ryan Seacrest locked up, and with the incremental hours from [Idol Gives Back returning next year], obviously 2010 and the future for Idol shapes up quite well."
Sillerman didn't disclose any financial details of the new deal, however Cowell is expected to earn about $45 million a year -- a $9 million a year increase from his current deal -- according to previous reports about the deal.
Speculation that Cowell could leave Idol after the five-season agreement he signed with Fox in November 2005 expires following next year's ninth edition began when he cited the busy schedule he currently faces with Idol and his Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor British shows during an interview with the U.K.'s The Mirror newspaper in April.
"Most people do one show a year and I do three. It just so happens that one is in America and two are in England and they do involve a lot of traveling. One may have to go. I don't know how to decide which one. That is the problem, I like all of them," Cowell told The Mirror at the time.
"I can't imagine not doing Britain's Got Talent and I can't imagine not doing X Factor. But I guess America is more likely to go because I have got one year under contract. Maybe that will be the end."
Cowell had subsequently denied his comments were just a negotiating ploy.
"It's not negotiating," he told The New York Times later that month. "I have as good a relationship with the people from Fox as you possibly can have. They've become friends. I don't bull them... I don't want to get bored, and I don't want the audience to get bored."
Instead, Cowell is now reportedly planning to make the upcoming sixth season of The X Factor, which he also created and produces, the last installment for which he'll serve as a judge.
"He has found X Factor increasingly draining and it leaves him little time for serious business," a close friend told The Mirror in late June. "Now he's decided this will be his last series and he's moving on. In future, he will have a more overseeing role."