Simon Cowell’s $45 million salary leads to “jealousy”

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Simon Cowell makes $72 million a year, of which $45 million is for each season of American Idol.

The show’s former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe severely underestimated Cowell’s salary when he told Australia’s Courier-Mail, “I think Simon is now earning something like $36 million a year from FOX alone but they can afford to pay him that because at one point we heard (FOX) were getting something like $900,000 and $1 million per 30 seconds in advertising revenue.”

Even using that inaccurately low number, Lythgoe said Cowell’s pay is a point of contention. “(Jackson’s and Abdul’s) salary has never been advertised and Simon has been in Forbes which is why I am talking about it. But there is always jealousy in every job. Why is he getting more than the other two judges? Because it is believed that he brings more to the table. Also, he has actually handled his negotiations quite brilliantly,” Lythgoe said.

Paula is particularly upset, according to an anonymous source allegedly close to Paula Abdul, who told MSNBC’s Courtney Hazlett that “Paula knew that Simon was getting paid more, but she never imagined it was this much more. This could really put her in a bad way. She has a lot of concerns with feeling appreciated. First, they bring in another judge (Kara DioGuardi) and now it’s ridiculously obvious that she’s getting pennies compared to Simon.”

So the only real news here is that Paula doesn’t read Forbes, and is only now realizing that her incomprehensible babble and awkward hand clapping isn’t all that valuable. At least she gets free food out of the deal; Lythgoe told the newspaper, “Whenever we go out to dinner [Simon] is certainly the first one to put his credit card down.”

#22 Simon Cowell [Forbes]
Simon Cowell’s Idol salary is nothing to sneer at [The Courier-Mail]
Simon Cowell’s salary dwarfs Paula Abdul’s [MSNBC]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.