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Katy Perry Scores $25 MILLION Deal For 'American Idol'

5/22/2017 7:48 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Katy Perry is getting a staggering $25 MILLION to judge "American Idol" ... this according to sources familiar with the negotiation.

Multiple sources tell us ABC was desperate to sign a name before the Upfronts last week, when honchos announced she was the lead judge. As one source put it, "Katy had all the leverage. If ABC ended up announcing the show without a judge, they'd be screwed."

TMZ broke a story way back in 2012 that 'A.I.' was trying to get Katy as a judge but she rejected the network's $20 mil offer.

As we reported, ABC tried to get Kelly Clarkson but at the last minute she jumped ship and went to NBC's "The Voice." NBC also snagged Jennifer Hudson.

We're also told ABC is "on the verge" of signing the deal with Ryan Seacrest to host the show. Sources connected with the first run of 'Idol' tell us Ryan was making $15 mil a season at his high point. We're told Jennifer Lopez was also raking in $15 mil a season. So Katy blew them both away.

Katy Perry It's Official ... I'm Judgin' 'Idol'!

5/16/2017 2:08 PM PDT
Breaking News

"American Idol" and ABC made it official Tuesday ... they've bagged Katy Perry to be the lead judge when the show returns next year.

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey made the announcement Tuesday -- as we first told you she would -- at the network's Upfronts in NYC. Katy wasn't there for the big reveal, but said in a statement she was "honored and thrilled to be the first judge bringing back the American Idol tradition of making dreams come true."

The network didn't have anything else to say about its 'Idol' reboot. Our sources say it's still a near certainty Ryan Seacrest will host. Zippo on the other 2 judges too.

We broke the story ... 'Idol' honchos don't feel it's essential to the show's success to get another big name singer now that they have Katy. We're told they'll target songwriters and industry execs.

Stay tuned.

'American Idol' Auditions Will Go Down at Disney World!!!

5/9/2017 12:00 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

ABC ... you just snagged "American Idol." So, where you goin' for auditions? We're goin' to Disney World!!!

Yep, TMZ has learned the show will shoot audition weeks at Walt Disney World in Orlando. We're told there are 2 reasons:

-- It promotes a huge brand within the Disney company -- amusement parks.

-- It's way more cost-effective than travelling the show to various cities.

A source familiar with the deal tells us there's also talk of doing some of the auditions at Disneyland on the West Coast.

It would also give the show a cross-section of America and beyond, without having to hit the road.

Money is definitely an issue. The show got too expensive to produce, which is why it went off the air a year ago, and this will save a considerable sum.

RYAN SEACREST He's Not Sayin' No To Hosting 'Idol'

5/7/2017 6:03 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ryan Seacrest sounds like he's game for round two of "American Idol."

TMZ broke the story..."Idol" is coming back in March, 2018 on ABC. We got Ryan and GF Shayna in NYC Saturday night and he certainly didn't shut down the possibility of hosting the show again.

As we reported ... the new gig has almost super-human strings attached, requiring him to fly coast to coast twice in two days in the middle of the night each week to pull it off. Ryan seems to think he's up to the task... with an L.A. Fitness membership.

BTW... we got him going in to Le Bernardin restaurant in NYC. It's super expensive, so we're guessing he's banking on "A.I." money to pay the check.

'American Idol' Seems Headed for ABC in 2018

5/4/2017 11:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

"American Idol" seems headed for ABC for a March 2018 launch ... sources connected with the negotiations tell TMZ.

TMZ broke the story, ABC made the offer a week ago and asked the owners of the show if it could be moved to NYC so Ryan Seacrest could host, now that he's living there. That idea was quickly nixed and the show will go on in Hollywood.

ABC tells us ... there's no signed deal, but our sources say the negotiations are far along and the fine points are being worked out right now. We're told both sides expect to seal the deal "soon."

We're also told NBC, which made an offer several months ago, is out as a bidder. FOX also made an offer but from everything we're hearing, it's now all about ABC.

Our sources say the plan is for ABC to announce the return of 'Idol' at the Upfronts a week from next.

Ryan Seacrest Tapped by Kelly Ripa as Co-Host

5/1/2017 6:10 AM PDT

Ryan Seacrest is the new co-host of 'Live' with Kelly Ripa ... which means a coast-to-coast move for the former "American Idol" host.

Ripa has been without a co-host for a year, since Michael Strahan bailed for "Good Morning America."

Seacrest has had a long-standing relationship with NBC, so it looks like he's bailing from the Peacock.

We know talks have been in the works for more than a month, and there's no doubt he's making wheelbarrows full of loot.

Unclear if he'll still do stuff for E!. 


Muslim Actors Scoring More Roles in Hollywood ... Take That, Prez Trump?

3/21/2017 10:58 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hollywood is hiring way more Muslim actors than ever before ... and President Trump might very well be the one to thank.

Industry sources tell TMZ there's been a big uptick in the number of roles for Muslim actors this pilot season, and that TV networks are pushing for more Muslim-American story lines in primetime.

For example ... Omar Metwally (CBS), Mouzam Makkar (NBC), Zainab Johnson (ABC), Adeel Akhtar (FOX) and Hasan Minhaj (Netflix) ... are all starring in pilots right now.

Sue Obeidi, the director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Hollywood, says studios and production companies are reaching out to her group to consult on accurate plots.

She adds ... rather than just casting someone who might look Middle Eastern or Arabic, networks are pushing for actual Muslims to play Muslim characters. As opposed to the infamous casting of Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Prince of Persia.'

Sources at one of TV's biggest casting agencies say the demand has been on the rise since Trump announced his presidential bid.

As for why? The timing makes it seem obvious -- Hollywood power players, most of whom are vehemently anti-Trump, are pushing back against what they see as his exclusionary policies.

Translation: In your face, Mr. President.

ABC News Busted for Fake News Image ... Used Phony Trump Pic

1/25/2017 9:52 AM PST

ABC News used a mocked up pic of Donald Trump in the Oval Office to promote its first TV interview with the prez, and the image was ripped from The New Yorker! Oops. 

The network ran the phony image Tuesday night to promote an interview with Trump -- the first since he took office -- for Wednesday's nightly news, and apparently didn't realize it was photoshopped or another outlet's work.

We're told the photo did in fact see air time Tuesday, but has since been replaced. ABC has apologized, and copped to its marketing team screwing up.

Side note: Shout-out to The New Yorker's art department. Ya fooled ABC.

ABC News BUSTED Faked Crime Scene for Live Shot

11/4/2016 12:36 PM PDT
Breaking News

When is a crime scene not really a crime scene?? When ABC News FAKES IT for a live TV shot.

Viewers at home watched live Friday morning as Linsey Davis reported in front of what appeared to be a crime scene in South Carolina ... where a woman had allegedly been held captive in a storage container by a sex offender. 

Problem was ... the crime scene tape was just a TV prop to make it look like she was in front of the real crime scene ... and the lie was exposed in a photo obtained by CNN. 

You can clearly see the yellow tape was tied to production equipment to give the illusion Davis was reporting right from the scene of the investigation. The segment aired on "Good Morning America."

ABC News is placing the blame on the field producer -- saying, "As soon as it was brought to our attention, we decided to take the producer out of the field, and we're investigating further."

"This action is completely unacceptable and fails to meet the standards of ABC News," ABC News' VP of Communication said in a statement.

By the way, this isn't the first time Davis has been in the headlines this week -- she was the reporter who interviewed Lil Wayne for 'Nightline' when he ranted about Black Lives Matter and stormed out of the interview

ABC News Sued You Jacked My Fat Cat And It's Gonna Cost You a Chunk!

11/4/2016 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

ABC News lifted a photo of NYC's fattest cat and posted it without permission ... according to the photographer who's now suing the network.

Stephen Yang is a professional photog who typically licenses his pics, but in his lawsuit he says ABC News used his shot of Samson -- dubbed the largest cat in NYC at 28 pounds -- and never paid him a dime.

According to the docs ... Samson got famous for his size, and also because his owner, Jonathan Zurbel, takes the enormous pussycat all over Brooklyn in a pet stroller. So hipster.

Yang says all that attention is why ABC News posted its story on Aug. 12th with his jacked photo. The story's been shared more than 900 times on Facebook, and Yang is suing for a cut of ABC's profits.

We've reached out to the network, so far no word back.

Kelly Ripa Back Tuesday After Tough Talk With Disney

4/23/2016 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kelly Ripa will be back Tuesday on 'Live' ... TMZ has learned ... this after her people jawboned it with Disney over the fate of her show and the tenure of her co-host.

Our ABC sources say Kelly's people made it clear she would come back if they could get assurance the show wasn't getting the ax. As we reported, ABC honchos are noodling whether to add a third hour of 'GMA,' which would displace 'Live.'

From what we can gather, the brass gave Kelly enough assurance to end her boycott. Based on what we know, even Disney doesn't know if they'll expand 'GMA.' A lot depends on morning show ratings and the performance of 'Live' over the next year.

Even if 'GMA' moves to 9 ... ABC could save 'Live' by moving it to 10 or 11 AM.

Our ABC sources say Kelly made it clear she'd be a happy camper if Michael Strahan leaves before his scheduled September departure. Our sources say both Kelly and Michael are extremely uncomfortable about sitting together under the circumstances, and they'd both like to stop the bleeding STAT.

As we reported, the 2 have not gotten along for 2 years ... various sources say they don't like each other.

We're told Kelly has a little more than a year left on her contract. Makes for good TV.

Kelly Ripa Crew Furious Her Boycott Could Cost Us Our Jobs

4/22/2016 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kelly Ripa is alienating lots of people on 'Live,' because they believe she's jeopardizing their jobs by refusing to work.

Production sources tell us, some members of the crew believe ABC execs are weighing the benefits of either killing the show or moving it to a later hour so they can add a third hour of 'GMA.'

These crew members are grousing, the longer Kelly stays out, the more damage it will do to 'Live' and the greater the chance that they'll be replaced by 'GMA.' If 'Live' goes away, so do they.

That said, we're told the crew generally likes Kelly, but many of them think what they call "her tantrum" is hurting the show.

As we reported, ABC is indeed mulling over the prospect of adding a 3rd 'GMA' hour.

'DWTS' Guy-On-Guy Dancing During Ariana & Meghan Gig Too Fancy for ABC

11/12/2015 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

ABC has put the kibosh on 2 dudes dancing hip to hip on "Dancing with the Stars."

Sources connected with the show tell TMZ, the issue came up over an upcoming performance by an openly gay artist who goes by the name, Who Is Fancy. The performance is set for November 23, where he will debut his new song, "Boys Like You," featuring Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor, who will also appear on the show.

The song is about a man falling in love with another man. We've learned Who Is Fancy's choreographer sent an email to a 'DWTS' producer, saying, it would "be an awesome look to have 2 males dancing with each other."

Our sources say the 'DWTS' honchos discussed it and a producer fired back an email, saying, "Apologies all but this is a definitive no from the network."  

We're told ABC agreed to allow "near dancing" during the performance, like a recent appearance by two men -- Alek and Carlos -- who shared the stage this week. Check out the video ... it's more like a Cirque performance than romantic ballroom dancing.

We contacted ABC, and the rep said they had no comment ... but a high-level source tells us, "Creative conversations are ongoing about the dance number."

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