‘American Idol’ deal

Dealmakers Impact Report 2010

Simon Fuller
19 Entertainment
Artist manager (Annie Lennox, Amy Winehouse, Spice Girls) and TV producer Fuller created the now-worldwide “Idol” franchise and co-created (with Nigel Lythgoe) the Fox TV reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.” He got his start at Chrysalis Records in the early ’80s and, at age 25, started management company 19 Entertainment in 1985. In 2005, he sold the company to CKX Inc. for a reported $200-plus million in cash and stock. In March launched his reality show “If I Can Dream,” which first aired on Hulu.
KEY DEALS: “American Idol” exec producer Fuller helped oversee the show’s switch from Sony Music Entertainment to Universal Music Group, parent company of Interscope, whose chairman Jimmy Iovine is the new inhouse mentor. With the departure of top dog Simon Cowell, Fuller has also helped revamp the show’s line-up, which now includes judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who ironically was recently dropped as an artist by Sony. “Idol” 2.0 returns in January for its 10th season.

Lucian Grainge
Co-Chief Executive of Universal Music Group (UMG)Grainge, who joined Universal Music in 1986, has aggressively responded to “enormous recent shifts in our industry and business model” by focusing on “Job No. 1 — great music and great artists” and by spearheading the company’s international expansion into entertainment merchandise. He considers merchandising arm Bravado (clients include Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones, Beyonce) as a “symbolic and strategically important part of our business.” He has also moved UMG into live-event production and artist services and has pioneered innovative digital distribution models with a large range of technology partners, including Nokia, Spotify, Sky, Virgin Media, Apple, Vodafone, Omnifone/Sony Ericsson, 19 Entertainment and the BBC.
KEY DEALS: In a major coup, Grainge helped engineer the “American Idol” switch from Sony Music Entertainment to UMG and a long-term strategic alliance with “AI’s” creator Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment: “It’s hard to overestimate its importance, and it’s partly why I relocated and moved our head office to L.A.”
SPARE TIME: Soccer, music.
TOP CAUSES: City of Hope, Rays of Sunshine.

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