UPDATE: We told you there was intense rivalry between The Two Simons. Now it’s over their new net worth. Simon Fuller’s flacks on both sides of the Atlantic have angrily contacted Deadline London claiming the producer is already far wealthier than his one-time protégé, Simon Cowell. That alone speaks volumes. Is this hilarious or what?
American Idol creator Simon Fuller through his PR mouthpieces claims he’s set to not just match but pull even further ahead of Simon Cowell when it comes to how much money he’s going to make from new TV deals. As you know, Fuller has quit 19 Entertainment, the company he founded, to set up a new as-yet-unnamed company to executive produce Fox’s American Idol. Remember, five years ago, U.S. entertainment group CKX bought 19 Entertainment, his £92 million business with 200 employees, for nearly $200 million, already making Fuller a rich man. But his new executive producing deal means he will share for the first time in the profits of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Fuller will also continue to supply “general consulting services” to CKX, which owns the format for American Idol.
On the other hand, Cowell, unlike Fuller, owned the formats of the shows he makes, The X Factor and Got Talent, from the beginning. Sony then bought out the remaining 50% of X Factor. Between them, X Factor and Got Talent sell to 30 countries and Cowell makes money from them all. In addition, UK broadcaster ITV pays Cowell £6.5 million a year for hosting the British versions of X Factor and Got Talent, plus fees which go to his production company Syco. Cowell also shares in phone revenues, which generate around £1 million from viewers’ votes. For American Idol though, Cowell is paid a flat fee – albeit a hefty £20 million a year. But he recently announced he’s quitting as an AIl judge next year when Fox will start running The X Factor. Now Sir Philip Green, owner of the Top Shop fashion chain, is going into business with Cowell. Green is Britain’s 9-richest man with a personal fortune estimated at £4 billion.
Now for the numbers: The Sunday Times Rich List already has Fuller worth £300 million compared with Cowell’s £120 million. Game Over? Maybe not. Because it’ll be amusing to watch The Two Simons keep piling up big bucks as their new TV deals kick in. Great idea for another TV competition show. Let them fight over who’ll produce it.