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earning nearly $1 billion, American Idol is “a diversified money machine.”

earning nearly $1 billion, American Idol is “a diversified money machine.”
American Idol “is the undisputed champion of television,” USA TODAY reports, but the show is also a huge money-making machine. Creator Simon Fuller doesn’t deny this: “I’m on the cutting edge of entertainment and how you exploit it.” A chart shows the nearly $1 billion in revenue generated by the series and where it goes; the paper estimates that the series “generated more than $900 million last year in sales of TV ads, albums, merchandise and concert tickets.” USA TODAY gets specific with numbers; for example, the paper reports that “Fox should see at least $444 million this season from national ads. It sells about 10 minutes an hour at an average price of about $600,000 per 30-second spot, says Jon Nesvig, president of sales for Fox.” Additionally, it reports that Simon Cowell is the highest-paid judge. Simon “makes about $8 million a season, far more than fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson see, according to an executive familiar with the contracts.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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