Simon Fuller Hints at Offering Alternative Plan for 'American Idol' Owner Core Media

The television executive says he's contemplating a return to the company that also produces 'So You Think You Can Dance.'
Andrew Macpherson/Courtesy of XIX Entertainment
Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller, the creator of American Idol, is telling a court that he's weighing the possibility of submitting his own reorganization plan for Core Media, currently in Chapter 11 after the cancelation of the long-running singing competition show. According to a filing on Tuesday, "the competing plan would contemplate that Mr. Fuller, the creator of the Debtors’ most successful programming, will have a continuing role with the reorganized Debtors."

Core and its affiliates filed bankruptcy papers in late April under nearly $400 million in debt and facing a multimillion-dollar payment demand from Fuller, who left Idol producer 19 Entertainment in 2010.

Thereafter, Core worked with its senior creditors including Tennenbaum Capital Partners and Crestview Media Investors on a reorganization plan that would allow the company to continue operating. The debtor is behind So You Think You Can Dance as well as other reality shows. Under the plan, senior lenders would buy convertible shares in the reorganized company while junior lenders and unsecured creditors would recover a fraction of what they are owed.

Fuller isn't happy and has demanded an investigation in the potential pursuit of a fraud lawsuit. 

The debtors, who came to a settlement with the Committee of Unsecured Creditors and believed that took care of Fuller's claims, hit back on Aug. 8 with a motion seeking a rejection of its contracts with Fuller. When the television executive left 19 Entertainment six years ago, he secured an agreement that he'd provide executive producer and consulting services in return for hefty payments and a 10 percent share of profits in Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

Fuller's response, submitted on Tuesday, opposes the rejection and for the first time speaks of how he is "currently evaluating the possibility of seeking permission from this Court to file a competing reorganization plan that would enhance recoveries for all constituents in these Chapter 11 cases."

For now, Fuller isn't offering any details. After Fox canceled American Idol amid slipping ratings, Fuller talked about how the show could return. Could it be part of his plan? He doesn't say. According to his latest papers, "Given that Mr. Fuller, as the creator of IDOLS and SYTYCD, is intimately familiar with the Debtors’ business operations, he is in the best position to help navigate the reorganized Debtors to profitability."

A hearing on the current reorganization plan is scheduled for Sept. 22.