It’s not exactly a trade secret that “The X Factor” and the “Got Talent” franchises have been huge money makers for Simon Cowell. But a report from the UK paper The Guardian shows that a deal between Cowell and Sony has netted the producer/judge a cool $42 million.
The Guardian obtained papers that detailed a partnership between Cowell and Sony, which created the new production company Syco last year. TV Guide was able to boil everything down — as well as do the conversion from pounds to dollars, which we’re grateful for — and came to the $42 million figure. The exchange was interesting: Sony anted up $49 million and gave Cowell back two companies he sold over to Sony in the middle of the decade. Cowell took the $42 million and gave Sony another company he created.
The upshot? All of this created a 50-50 partnership and gave Simon back a half-share of the production company for “X Factor” and “Got Talent,” which he had to give up after his old “Pop Idol” and “American Idol” boss, Simon Fuller, brought a 2004 copyright-infringement suit after the British “X Factor” debuted. While that suit is settled, Fuller is still looking for an executive producer credit on “X Factor,” and has filed another suit.
So Simon’s making bank on these shows, but the ongoing money generated from owning the publishing of winners’ songs and giving them recording contracts is also a revenue generator. So let’s just say that Cowell is going to want his signature shows to go on as long as possible — and that giving millions to Howard Stern to judge “America’s Got Talent” is peanuts compared to what Cowell and Sony stand to make on the show.
Watch “X Factor” winner Melanie Amaro perform: