‘American Idol’ Producer Defends Katy Perry’s $25 Million Salary: ‘She’s Brilliant’


She’s worth it! Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, which produces American Idol, defended Katy Perry’s reported $25 million salary to be a judge on the reboot. 

Katy Perry
Katy Perry arrives at the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

She claimed to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Thursday, August 3, that American Idol’s production costs are on par with other similar shows — even with Perry’s staggering salary. “The show is not more expensive than its competitors in the genre. If other networks can make it work on similar properties, then there’s no reason why ABC couldn’t,” she said. “This notion that the show [costs] a lot more than any other is completely untrue. We know that because we’ve made other shows in other genres. ABC wouldn’t order something that didn’t work for them financially.”

Frot-Coutaz, 51, added that she thinks it will also help propel Perry’s career. “Katy is in a transition in terms of her own career. It has been shown now what these platforms can do for artists,” Frot-Coutaz said. “It has been beneficial to other people, whether it’s on Idol or The Voice. But I think she genuinely cares. She auditioned when she was a guest judge on Idol in 2010 and then on the [U.K.] X-Factor. She’s brilliant.”

Cecile Frot-Coutaz
SundanceTV SVP of Scripted Programming Christian Vesper, CEO of FremantleMedia International Jens Richter, CEO of FremantleMedia Cecile Frot-Coutaz, and CEO of UFA Wolf Bauer attend the NY premiere of SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” on June 15, 2015 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

 The other judges have not yet been officially confirmed by ABC, but a source exclusively told Us Weekly in May that former contestant Chris Daughtry would be joining the Idol reboot.

Frot-Coutaz also explained to The Hollywood Reporter why ABC felt like it was right time to bring back the show just a year after it was cancelled by Fox. “When Idol wrapped, we did extensive research. We found that we’d recruited new, much younger viewers,” she shared. “Do you wait five or six years, with the landscape continuing to evolve, and risk losing those followers? In thinking about doing the right thing for the brand and franchise, it felt to us that it was an unfinished story. Even though the show lived on Fox for 15 years, its audience is actually closer to that of ABC or CBS.”

The revival is also bringing back Ryan Seacrest, who hosted the show from 2002 to 2016. “It was always going to happen. It’s hard for Ryan. He’s on the East Coast now and had to figure out how to make it work, but he’s the hardest-working man in show business, so there will be some flying back and forth,” she continued. “But, as I said, it was always going to happen. He’s the face of Idol.”

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