Cowell Close to New Three-Year Deal With "American Idol"

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Simon Cowell is reportedly finalizing a deal that will ensure the cantankerous Brit's spot on the American Idol judges' panel for the next three seasons. While no financial details were revealed, the Hollywood Reporter writes the deal will probably be for $45 million over the next three years. Cowell had previously hinted that he would leave the show after his contract was up at the end of this season, however earlier this summer, he began negotiations to extend his stay on Idol through 2011.

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Cowell's pending contract was revealed by Robert Sillerman, the chairman of CKX, which is the parent company of Idol's 19 Entertainment. "We've heard from Fox, who has asked us for approval for Simon Cowell to appear for three more years on Idol," Sillerman said according to THR. "They, in their negotiations with Cowell, have asked us to pre-approve him not only for American Idol '09, which has begun taping, but they have also asked us for approval for '10 and '11, indicating to us that they're finishing their negotiation with Cowell. We did grant approval for that quite obviously."

Cowell's new deal comes just a week after Paula Abdul announced that she would be leaving Idol after eight seasons as a judge, Rock Daily reported. According to reports, Abdul was seeking a contract worth around $10 million, almost double what Idol producers were offering. Guest judges like Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry will fill the Abdul void during auditions while producers seek out a new fourth judge. As Rock Daily previously reported, Kara DioGuardi will return for her second stint on Idol, while Ryan Seacrest recently signed a new $45 million multi-purpose deal that includes remaining the Idol host for the next three years.

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Cowell's re-up comes at a good time for both parties: Idol producers avoid losing their marquee name and engaging in another last-minute contractual standoff like they encountered during the Abdul negotiations, while Cowell secures a raise as the show heads into uncertain territory with Abdul's abrupt departure.

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