'American Idol': Why Scooter Braun, Jennifer Hudson and Benny Medina Aren't Judging
Before the Fox show settled on Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., these industry players were pushed, pitched and paid off.
This story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The manager of Justin Bieber, The Wanted and Ariana Grande was endorsed by judge Jennifer Lopez, who rallied against adding hitmaker Dr. Luke to the season 13 panel ("She worried he'd show her up," says a source; a deal with Sony Music barred Luke from joining Idol). But while the outspoken Braun, 32, who has his own label at Universal, was interested, he insisted on management of the winner, which Idol brass would not allow.
As a finalist-turned-Oscar winner, Hudson is among Idol's most successful alumni. No wonder her name was bandied about early in the postseason search. The 31-year-old had a commitment from Fox, says an insider, but producers backed out once J.Lo came into the picture. The consolation prize: about $2 million -- a drop in the bucket compared with J.Lo's salary (estimated at $15 million) or the $12 million Dr. Luke was offered. Worth noting, adds a show source: "It's become standard operating procedure for talent reps to inflate salaries by 20 to 50 percent to make them and/or their clients look good." A rep for Lopez claims no knowledge of the pop star's pay.
Whether Lopez's longtime manager "had made a pitch for himself," as one source contends, or was "approached and not interested," as another insists, one thing is for sure: Medina knew that News Corp's David Hill, who has been tasked with overseeing Idol and The X Factor -- along with executive producers Den of Thieves and creator Simon Fuller -- "really wanted a noncelebrity industry professional." Among the behind-the-scenes players also considered were veteran music producers David Foster and Rodney Jerkins. Fox declined comment.