3:40pm PT by Eriq Gardner
'American Idol' Owner Looks to Terminate Deals With Simon Fuller
Core Media Group, the rights-holder of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, has had enough with Simon Fuller and is now attempting to escape its agreements with the prominent television executive. If the move is successful, Fuller will lose out on a 10 percent profit share from both shows.
The company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in part thanks to a multi-million-dollar payment demand that Fuller made earlier in the year. Back in 2010, Fuller left 19 Entertainment, a subsidiary of Core, but the two sides came to an agreement that provided executive producer and consulting services in return for hefty payments. As The Hollywood Reporter revealed last week, Fuller is now eyeing fraud claims and is pushing the judge for an order authorizing examination of the company's assets and the transactions it has made. Monday's development will do nothing but pour fuel to the fire.
Core, which has been moving towards a reorganization to satisfy nearly $400 million in outstanding debt, pretty much calls Fuller a nuisance in new court papers. The debtor's position is that it reached a settlement with the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors — which Fuller isn't on, but which covers his claims — and that should be the end of that.
"In short, the [Fuller Investigation] Motion represents a blatant attempt to harass the Debtors at a crucial stage in these proceedings for the benefit of a single creditor who was obviously unhappy with the Committee’s conclusions," states the debtor's lawyers.
But Core (and affiliates like AOG Entertainment) are doing more than merely opposing Fuller's discovery efforts. Monday's court papers also include a motion seeking an order under bankruptcy code to authorize the rejection of agreements with Fuller.
These deals not only provide Fuller with a 10 percent profit share, but also allow him to exert creative controls. That impacts So You Think You Can Dance, the dance competition show which is still broadcast by Fox, but would presumably mean that Idol's creator would be ousted from the singing reality show, too, if it were ever to reboot.
Core says that in its "business judgment," the Fuller agreements should be rejected.
"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 beneficial," states the court papers. "The Debtors’ relationship with Mr. Fuller has similarly deteriorated, evidenced in part by Mr. Fuller’s expressed willingness to commence a winding up proceeding against 19 Entertainment less than four months ago as well as Mr. Fuller’s recent tactic in seeking to conduct a 2004 examination of the Debtors and certain of their non-Debtor affiliates."
The debtor adds that Fuller hasn't provided any services since the April bankruptcy and his services aren't needed. The motion is scheduled to be taken up at a bankruptcy court hearing on Aug. 23.