Katy Perry’s ‘Idol’ contract is so big, she only left ‘pennies’ for the other judges

The new American Idol judges arrive for 'Good Morning America'

As everyone knows – but few care, I suspect – American Idol is being rebooted on a new network. The reboot will air in 2018, but the hype for the reboot has already started, big-time. The one-time hit show used to air on Fox, and now it’s moved to ABC. Conceptually, the show will be the same, with the same producers and same general formula. They’ve brought back Ryan Seacrest too, but of course they hired all new judges. Katy Perry was the first major name to sign on – that happened earlier this year, in May.

Katy is a big deal, and she negotiated her contract with ABC like she was and is a big deal too. At the end of the day, ABC agreed to Katy’s terms and they signed her up with a $25 million contract. Ever since then, there’s been endless bitching from “sources” about how Katy Perry Took All The Money and Katy Perry Didn’t Leave Any Money For Anybody Else and Katy Perry Is A Ballbusting Diva Because She Demands So Much Money. It’s all pretty sexist, and I would imagine that those articles and headlines would not exist if a man had negotiated his worth to a major network. Eventually, ABC did hire the other judges: Luke Bryan (“the poor man’s Blake Shelton”) and Lionel Richie. “Sources” are still bitching about the money Katy’s getting though.

Katy Perry’s big $25 million payday at “American Idol” has created huge drama at ABC and at the relaunched singing competition. The “Firework” singer’s deal left “pennies” for fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. We’re told that Ryan Seacrest’s hefty salary of about $15 million also cut deeply into the budget.

“ABC was originally going to spend no more than $50 million on talent. They had to expand their budget for Lionel,” one TV insider told us. An ABC network source told us the decision to cough up such an obscene amount for Perry was the doing of CEO/President Ben Sherwood, who personally signed off on the talent deals.

“Ben Sherwood blew the budget on Katy without thinking how that would impact other areas of the show budget. He gambled on her because of her appeal to a younger audience and huge social-media following. But Katy is effectively taking money from the other judges, who then had to be paid way less,” the source said.

Then the fireworks ignited with Bryan and Richie. “The negotiations with Luke and Lionel have been fraught and difficult because of [Katy’s paycheck]. They expected similar deals to Katy, but are, in fact, getting a hell of a lot less. In the end, ABC had to cough up a second round of money to sign the other judges.”

“Idol” initially offered Richie and Bryan a measly $2.5 million each to take the gig, but the offended singers demanded more, and refused to sign their deals, which postponed ABC’s big talent announcement. “As of last week, their contracts were not done. Sherwood authorized ABC to cough up more money. They’re both making about $7 million each now. This has become a very expensive show. If ‘Idol’ doesn’t work, it will blow up big time in Sherwood’s face. If it does work, he’s a genius,” the network source said.

Despite numerous sources describing the drama over the show deals, an ABC rep claimed to Page Six that it’s “not true. Ben never had to get involved, and the deals were done within the original ABC talent budget for the show.”

[From Page Six]

For the love of God, “sources.” NONE OF THIS IS KATY’S FAULT. Katy negotiated her contract and held out for what she believed she was worth: that should be applauded, and I’m applauding her for it, because it’s a rarity for women to do that. If ABC blew their load, THAT’S ON ABC. Not Katy. That’s ABC’s bad management, not Katy being a diva or whatever. I absolutely loathe the sexism around Katy’s contract this year – it’s almost as if the male-dominated media is going out of their way to “punish” a woman who makes sure she gets paid more than men. Who would have thunk.

Also: if they were looking for cost-cutting measures on the “talent,” I have a very easy fix: don’t give Ryan Seacrest a $15 million contract. Trained monkeys could do his job. Rando C-list actors could do his job. Seacrest is not worth $15 million.

The new American Idol judges arrive for 'Good Morning America'

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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32 Responses to “Katy Perry’s ‘Idol’ contract is so big, she only left ‘pennies’ for the other judges”

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  1. Lilly says:

    So sexist. Then don’t work for pennies and negotiate like a ba, like Katy Perry did.

    • Cybi says:

      Katy has 109 million twitter followers. Thats a large amount of viewers. 25mil is not too much. Katy is a star. Go get your money 💰 girl!

  2. Bridget says:

    The issue isn’t that Katy is being paid so much, it’s that everyone knows how much she’s being paid. They’re leaking this because otherwise it makes both Lionel and Luke look like they’re just getting Katy’s leftovers – that was part of why they had such a hard time landing anyone else in the first place. Now they need to make it look like L&L aren’t pathetic for taking it.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      Why are they pathetic for taking it? At this point in time Katy is the most recognizable face when it comes to young people. Not that I think it’s going to work in their favor as her career is on the downswing, but that was the chance they took. Not her problem.

  3. Nicole says:

    Listen Katy is not worth the 25 mil to me.
    HOWEVER good for you girl getting that contract. I’m all for women negotiating like men (which honestly should NOT be a male trait). Bust those balls girl. I’m here for it.

    • Handwoven says:

      Indeed! I don’t think, for example, Leonardo Dicaprio is ever worth what he gets for films. But I’d never attack him for that.

    • Leen says:

      I agree completely.
      Katy is too much for 25 mil $ but girl knows how to negotiate so I applaud her. It’s ABC’s problem, not her. They could have said no and brought someone else instead.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. I think she absolutely should have held out until it was financially worth it for her.

      At the same time, I do think that you have to think of the overall quality of projects that you sign on for. If you take 90% of the budget for your salary and the funding for the project suffers, you become the face of a failed project. With Idol, if she took so much money that they couldn’t hire good judges, she is going to blamed for the success or failure of that show.

      Much like with actors who take “scale” when they do an indy film, they realize if you eat all of the budget on your own salary, your are going to be STARRING in a duct-taped piece of garbage. You will be blamed for success or failure of that project whose budget you just gutted.

  4. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    This feels like a ploy to discourage famous women from negotiating their worth in the future. ABC is using the fact that women are expected to be “nice” and “humble” to mainstream America to maintain fame. They do not want to pay women our worth because it will cost millions.

  5. Barry Iris says:

    What I hate is anyone earning more than they are worth.

    Katy isn’t worth $25 million for doing TV work.

    • Kristen820 says:

      I’m certainly no fan of hers, but if ABC thinks she’s worth $25mil, then she’s worth $25mil because that’s what they’re willing to pay her.

    • CommentingBunny says:

      If you think she’s getting too much, then when you are negotiating with her for a tv contract don’t agree to that much. The network did. They think her name and date power is worth it, and they will get viewers as a result.

      It’s fine and fun to argue that the contract is too high. But it’s off-topic here, where the issue is the sexism inherent in the subtext of these “sources”: that girl *who doesn’t know her place* took money away from these deserving men by being a nasty ball-breaker.

    • lunchcoma says:

      If Katy isn’t worth that much, next time around, ABC can pass on paying her that much. Though I suspect she may be worth that much. The talent show format is very stale, and it’s been years since anyone was under the impression that one of the contestants was the next big music star. Much of the reason people watch is to see the judges interact, and a current star who appeals to younger viewers is going to be a lot harder to attract than an older one whose career peaked two or three decades ago.

    • Reef says:

      She’s worth what they are willing to pay and what she was able to negotiate and apparently that’s 25 million. lol. Good for her.

    • holly hobby says:

      In the meantime, teachers earn a pathetic income for teaching our younger generation. No I don’t agree with the obscene amount of money flung at these people.

  6. Meggles says:

    Sexist nonsense. I highly doubt Lionel Richie is working “for pennies” and if they didn’t want to pay her, they shouldn’t have agreed to it. She didn’t put a gun to their heads.

    • Erica_V says:

      Right when $2.5 million is considered pennies….

      Real talk tho – Katy is not worth $25 million. Maybe in her Teenage Dream Days, maybe even during her Prism days. But def not during her Witness era.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Are there any similar stars who’d be interested in the gig for substantially less money? The fact that her last album was a flop is probably why she’s willing to even consider doing it at all. I don’t know if there’s any amount of money that could attract Taylor Swift to the job. I don’t know if Selena Gomez or Ariana Grande would be interested either, and I think both of them would ask for at least that much. Lady Gaga seems more interested in acting these days. Miley would probably want to be paid similarly, and is kind of a loose cannon. Kesha maybe? But Kesha comes with controversy. And after that, all the women I can think of are of a somewhat older generation of stars who aren’t as well-known to the youngest viewers.

      • Jeannie says:

        This is to @lunchcoma:

        It’s unfair that Kesha comes w controversy when she is the victim here, n for something she never asked for. Not criticizing you, just pointing out the sad reality of that situation.

  7. Clare says:

    Didn’t Kardashian #3 do Seacrest’s job for a season or two?

  8. STRIPE says:

    I read all of that as a slight to Sherwood, not Katy. They are saying that he had X budget and spent most of it on one person which made casting the rest of the judges harder. I didn’t see anything in the quoted text *blaming* Katy. But a fact is a fact. They gave her way too much of their budget.

    • Sullivan says:

      Yes, this is Sherwood’s debacle and the “sources” said as much.

    • STRIPE says:

      Ah, but upon a re-read I did see the part about her “effectively taking money from other judges.” Not a great way to word it for sure. But I stand by my original comment. The majority of this article is placing blame squarely at Sherwoods feet.

  9. teacakes says:

    Listen, Katy Perry annoys the shit out of me, but she did not force ABC to give her 25 million at gunpoint – THEY made that decision after negotiating with her, this is on them.

    Don’t blame the woman for wanting to be paid.

  10. bell says:

    She’s not worth 25milion, Richie is.

  11. Guest says:

    I was hoping they would get a new host with all new judges. Why bring back seacrest??

  12. Christo says:

    Katy Perry can be annoying, but it p*sses me off that she somehow doesn’t have the right to negotiate however much she wants on a contract. There are TWO parties involved, and the other party obviously agreed on the payout. For decades, centuries, and perhaps all of history, women have been seen as less than men in the marketplace. And now…after all the articles and citations about women earning less in Hollywood and in general with the pay gap…it bothers me that this is even up for discussion. So, let me get this straight…. we have had ALL OF HISTORY… with men getting paid more than women. And, now on an American Idol reboot in 2017, someone is like, “How dare Katy Perry ask for so much money!!” Nope. Sorry. Not a Katy-stan by any stretch of the imagination, but a negotiated, agreed-upon contract by BOTH PARTIES for $25 million is not up for debate! If Lionel or the other guy wanted more money, they could have held out or just dropped altogether. Lest we forget that THEY AGREED ON THEIR LESSER AMOUNTS. End of story.

  13. jugil1 says:

    What a sexist load of garbage! This show isn’t for me, but good for Katy. Oh the poor men have to fight over the “pennies” left because the woman took all the money. Waaahhhh….
    Welcome to our world fellas!

  14. sunshine gold says:

    I cannot believe Ryan Seacrest makes 15m for HOSTING. There’s the outrage.

  15. Mrs.K says:

    Why? Nobody likes Katy Perry.