'American Idol' Owner Core Media Allowed to Terminate Deal With Simon Fuller

A bankruptcy judge permits the rejection of a profit sharing agreement on 'Idol' and 'So You Think You Can Dance.'
Andrew Macpherson/Courtesy of XIX Entertainment
Simon Fuller

Core Media has been given an escape hatch from its agreements with Simon Fuller, the creator of American Idol. At a hearing in bankruptcy court on Tuesday, Judge Stuart Bernstein granted a motion that will cause Fuller to lose out on a 10 percent profit share from Idol as well as So You Think You Can Dance.

The development comes amid an escalating feud between Fuller and Core Media, the parent company of 19 Entertainment that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April after Fox canceled the long-running singing competition show. Fuller has been hounding the company for several million dollars and has hinted at bringing fraud claims

In reaction to Fuller's demands, which came as Core was working with its lenders to restructure almost $400 million in debt, Core wanted an order pursuant to bankruptcy code authorizing the rejection of Fuller's consulting agreements. Back in 2010, when Fuller left 19 Entertainment, he signed a lucrative deal that entitled him to substantial payments in return for executive producer and consulting services.

"The recent decline in the Debtors’ businesses, coupled with the recent conclusion of American Idol on American broadcast television, has caused the Fuller Consultancy Deed to become more burdensome then [sic] beneficial," states court papers filed by Core, which added that Fuller hadn't provided any services since the April bankruptcy, that his services were no longer needed and that he had become harassing.

Fuller's reaction to this move was his own attempt to interest the judge in an alternative plan for Core's reorganization — one that would have him playing a continuing role with the company moving forward.

The television executive's representatives had no comment about the judge's decision on Tuesday. 

After the hearing, Core Media issued its own statement: "The company has the utmost respect for Simon Fuller. We are enormously grateful for the shows he created and his development of 19 Entertainment."