TMZ

TMZ SPORTS

  • FS1
    M-T-Th-F:
    9:00 PM PST

    W:
    9:30 PM PST

Lionel Richie Secret 'American Idol' Meeting It IS Me You're Looking For

6/25/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Lionel Richie secretly met with "American Idol" producers this week and the subject was joining the show ... production sources tell TMZ.

We're told 'A.I.' execs had a sit-down with the legendary singer/producer for 2 hours, and they loved him. Our sources say 'A.I.' honchos now think he'd be a great fit for the show ... they like his "vibe."

It's interesting. We're told execs view him as a "nice judge." That seems to be Katy Perry's M.O. as well. So the third judge -- whom producers have not identified -- will be critical. It's unclear if they want another Simon, or if they're going for warm and fuzzy all 'round.

We're told producers will not negotiate with Richie until Ryan Seacrest's hosting deal is done. We broke the story, Seacrest has agreed to the money -- somewhere between $10M and $15M -- but he wants an executive producer title and 'A.I.' honchos are resisting.

Ryan Seacrest on 'A.I.' The Money's Good ... But Title is Everything

6/23/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ryan Seacrest's "done deal" to host the reboot of "American Idol" has hit a snag ... but it's not over money.

TMZ broke the story ... Seacrest and Fremantle Media and Core Media -- the producers of "American Idol"-- have agreed on his salary ... somewhere between $10 million and $15 million, substantially less than Katy Perry's $25M paycheck but definitely not chump change -- but he wants more than a "Host" title.

Sources at Fremantle and Core tell us, Seacrest is asking for an Executive Producer credit but Fremantle is balking, and the stalemate has now lasted more than a week. It's unclear if Seacrest wants day-to-day responsibilities for producing the show -- hard to imagine since there are only 24 hours in a day.

As we reported, we know producers are interested in Lionel Richie as a judge, but we're told they won't sign anyone else until they seal the deal with Seacrest.

Stay tuned.

Lionel Richie 'American Idol' Wants You To Join as Judge

6/19/2017 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

"American Idol" has its sights set on judge #2 for the reboot ... and we're told it's Lionel Richie.

'A.I.' sources tell TMZ ... producers think Richie's legendary music career makes him a perfect pick ... credibility and a knack for honing in on what will become popular. Richie is also extremely outgoing, which makes for good TV.

We don't know if the 'A.I.' folks have formally reached out to Richie. We contacted Richie's people, but so far they're mum.  

The question ... how much can producers afford to pay Richie, or for that matter any judge who fills the vacant seats? They paid a queen's ransom to Katy Perry -- $25 million -- which essentially blew their intended judge's budget.

As we reported ... Ryan Seacrest is about to sign a deal to host the new version for somewhere between $10M and $15M.

Katy Perry I'm Proud Of My $25 Mil ... I Smashed the Glass Ceiling!!

5/23/2017 10:20 AM PDT

Katy Perry's $25 million deal to be the lead judge on "American Idol" wasn't just for her -- she says she struck a blow for women everywhere who've been underpaid to do the same job as a man.

Katy was on NYC'S WKTU radio Tuesday and told "Cubby and Carolina Bermudez In the Morning" ... she's proud as hell her fat paycheck is more than "pretty much" any man made before her.

The pop star goes on to give a preview of what kind of judge she's going to be, and said she's the perfect fit for the show at the perfect time.

As we reported ... Perry's getting paid more than most of her big name 'Idol' predecessors. However, she'll need a massive raise before she matches Simon Cowell's reported $45 mil a year.

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.

Taylor Hicks Daughtry's No 'Idol' Judge ... They Need a WINNER!!

5/16/2017 1:51 PM PDT

Taylor Hicks is definitely NOT on board with Chris Daughtry being considered for an "American Idol" judge and his reason is simple -- he's a loser.

Ok, slight exaggeration ... Taylor's actual point is Chris didn't WIN 'Idol' ... like he did back in season 5, and he stressed that during an interview on Domenick Nati's iHeartRadio show. Mr. Soul Patrol was pretty blunt about it when asked about who should join Katy Perry.

Remember, Chris finished 4th during the season Taylor won.

So, would Taylor consider the gig ... and is 'Idol' even interested in him? He entertained both questions.

Taylor says the interview was taken out of context and he's since texted Chris to smooth things over ... we're told it's all good. 

Katy Perry & 'American Idol' Judge Deal Is Almost Closed ... ABC Planning Big Reveal

5/14/2017 9:42 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Katy Perry is in the homestretch ... negotiating a deal to become the anchor judge on "American Idol," and the announcement is expected to go down Tuesday.

TMZ broke the story ... 'AI' honchos set their sights on Perry after their bid for Kelly Clarkson went south and she joined "The Voice." Sources familiar with the negotiations tell us Idol's goal is to announce Katy is joining the reboot during the ABC Upfronts this week. Our sources say they will not announce the other 2 judges because 'Idol' hasn't even decided who it wants.

As we reported, Ryan Seacrest will almost certainly be the host. 

Here's the challenge. Idol went off the air on FOX because it became too expensive to produce, and everyone involved in the show doesn't want a repeat of that problem. Seacrest and Perry will not come cheap, for sure ... so the other 2 judges can't break the bank.

Fact is, Idol's last few seasons had big stars, but the show didn't get bang for its buck. We're told the other judges will likely be a songwriter and a music producer.

Our sources say producers and the network don't feel the need to get 3 big singing stars on the panel, because ultimately the show is about the competition and making it interesting.

Bottom line: Sorry, Steven Tyler. It ain't gonna work out ...

Katy Perry New Top Choice to Judge 'Idol'

5/14/2017 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Katy Perry is in line to fill the first judge's chair on the new "American Idol" and negotiations have already begun ... TMZ has learned.

Sources familiar with the talks tell us Katy is very interested, and is open to scheduling potential tour dates around the show's taping schedule. We're told ABC is fully on board as well and the only snag at this point is, of course, money.

As we first reported ... negotiations with Kelly Clarkson stalled due to her salary demands, and she decided to bail and coach on "The Voice" instead. 

That left 'Idol' behind the 8 ball to land a big name ... and Katy fits that bill ... and then some.

We've reached out to Katy's camp ... so far no word back.

William Hung Don't Hate On Kelly and Jennifer For Grabbing 'Voice' Chairs

5/14/2017 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

William Hung doesn't think Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson betrayed "American Idol" by joining its arch rival, "The Voice" ... and even has a (long shot) plan B for producers.

Hung, who's a professional public speaker now, tells us he doesn't begrudge J-Hud and Kelly's decision to jump ship because it's been so long since they were 'Idol' contestants. Even though they, along with Hung, appeared on the big series finale last year on FOX.

It's been 13 years since his horrific rendition of "She Bangs" was banging around your head nonstop -- but Hung still has a big dream ... where 'Idol' is concerned.

Steven Tyler Down For 'Idol' Reboot IF ...

5/12/2017 1:49 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Steven Tyler is serious about putting the band together again -- not Aerosmith, but his fellow judges J Lo and Randy Jackson ... for the "American Idol" reboot.

Thing is though ... Steven's got a lot of demands. He was at LAX Friday when he sent a message to 'AI' producers about how to take down "The Voice."

Steven believes he knows the winning formula, but something doesn't add up. We talked salary with him, and he's got a number in mind. Hint: he's looking at you, Jennifer!

But seeing as how we know the Kelly Clarkson talks fell apart over money ... Steven's dream team seems unlikely. Still, gotta take your shot, 'cause ya never know!

'Idol' Producers to 'Voice' Fool Us Once ...

5/12/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

"American Idol" and "The Voice" are locked in an arms war over which superstars will judge and coach on the shows ... and now 'Idol' is stepping up its game after taking 2 big Ls. 

A source familiar with negotiations between 'Idol' and Kelly Clarkson -- on the 'Idol' side -- told us they won't be fooled again. As we reported ... Kelly signed with the NBC hit, after 'Idol' balked at her salary demands.

We're told 'AI' plans to keep its wish list of judges under lock and key from here on out. They think they became sitting ducks the second Kelly and Jennifer Hudson's names got out.

One Idol source said, in their opinion, "The Voice" went "into overdrive to lock down" both singers as soon as they got wind the revamped 'Idol' wanted them.

Well, no more. We're told mum will be the word at 'Idol' until they nail down their men and women.

Kelly Clarkson I'm Coaching with 'The Voice' ... 'Idol' Talks Fall Apart

5/11/2017 3:04 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

Kelly Clarkson just turned things around quicker than 'The Voice' coach chairs -- instead of judging on the new "American Idol" ... she's joining NBC's hit singing competition.

Kelly made the announcement by video chatting with Blake Shelton on his Facebook page. The superstar singers joked they'd been trying to put the deal together for years, but Kelly kept getting pregnant. She's already been a mentor on the show multiple times.

The timing doesn't seem like a coincidence -- TMZ broke the story, 'Idol' producers wanted Clarkson to be a judge when the show returns on ABC in March 2018. Our sources say negotiations were underway, but the sides couldn't agree on money.

We're told Kelly's ask was just beyond their budget. Instead, she's now landed at "The Voice" for season 14 ... which, by the way, will be running at the same time Idol returns.

Remember, astronomical salaries for judges are mainly what ended the show's run on FOX. As a result, we're told ABC's mindful of overspending.

Another 'Idol' alum, Jennifer Hudson, signed on this week for 'Voice' season 13. 

Clearly, the coach/judge war is on ... and NBC's in the driver's seat.

Around the Web