Simon Fuller

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Simon Fuller
Born (1960-05-17) 17 May 1960 (age 54)
Origin Hastings, East Sussex,
Occupation(s) Talent manager, television producer, creator of the Idol franchise
Years active 1981–present
Labels 19 Entertainment(1985–2010) XIX Entertainment (2010–)
Associated acts David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Geri Halliwell, Andy Murray, Annie Lennox, Spice Girls, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Amy Winehouse, Cathy Dennis, Carrie Underwood, Will Young, Lisa Marie Presley, Adelén, Steven Tyler, David Cook, S Club 7 & S Club 8, Adam Lambert, Lewis Hamilton and others

Simon Fuller (born 17 May 1960) is an English entrepreneur, artist manager and television producer. He is best known for being the creator of the Idol franchise, which was first seen in the UK under the name Pop Idol and created number one rated shows in other markets as well, including American Idol in the US. The franchise has been sold to more than 100 countries around the world.[1] Fuller is also the co-creator and executive producer of the Fox TV reality shows So You Think You Can Dance, Q'Viva, and other U.S. and European TV shows. He is also the first British music manager since The Beatles late manager Brian Epstein to hold the top three positions in the US singles chart.

Fuller first came to significance through managing the female pop group the Spice Girls.[2] He has managed a wide range of talent that includes S Club 7, S Club 8, David and Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Steven Tyler, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Will Young, Emma Bunton, Lisa Marie Presley, Gary Barlow, Cathy Dennis, Aloe Blacc, Steve McManaman and others. He is in partnership with the duo Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

In 2007, Time magazine named Fuller one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[3] In 2008, Fuller was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine.[4] Fuller received the 2,441st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 23 May 2011.[5] The 2012 Sunday Times Rich List values Fuller at £375m; the sixth richest music millionaire in Britain.[6] In the Daily Mail in 2012, music promoter Harvey Goldsmith ranked Fuller at No.1 in a list of the greatest British Entrepreneurs, commenting; "he is a man of real vision".[1]

Business background[edit]

Fuller began his career in 1981 at Chrysalis in A&R (Chrysalis Records) in the UK,[7] where he signed Madonna's first hit 'Holiday' to the company. He discovered Paul Hardcastle in 1985 and started his own management company in London, 19 Entertainment, naming it after Hardcastle's first hit song "19".[8] Fuller spent the next twenty years turning 19 Entertainment into a highly profitable business, becoming one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the global entertainment market.[9]

After 20 years at the head of the company Fuller sold 19 Entertainment to CKX, Inc. in a cash and stock deal worth over $200 million in March 2005.[10] In 2008 the company delivered a profit of $92.5 million (£66m) into the parent company.[11] Fuller became a director of CKX, a position which gave him creative control over all of CKX's assets including the Elvis Presley Estate, Muhammad Ali’s business interests, and other iconic rights properties, until January 2010 when he started a new firm, XIX Entertainment, while continuing to work with CKX / 19 as a consultant and Executive Producer of 19's shows.[12] XIX Entertainment has a valuation of $100 million, and has offices in London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York City.[13][14] In February 2008 Fuller was presented with the PGA Award by the Producers Guild of America in Hollywood. At the event he was praised for his creativity, entrepreneurship, and charity work by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and HRH The Prince of Wales who also thanked Fuller for his support of the Prince's charity The Prince's Trust.[15]

TV production and formats[edit]

Fuller's first TV venture took place in 1999, when he created S Club 7, a pop group and BBC / Fox Kids television show, which was broadcast in over 100 territories around the world.[16] At this time Fuller also created an offspring of the show 'S Club Juniors', 'S Club 8',[17] a spinoff TV drama series 'I Dream',[18] and a magazine show in 2000 starring 7 TV hosts called 'S Club TV'.[19] S Club has been named as the inspiration for the wave of teen-oriented musical television shows that followed most notably Glee and High School Musical.[18] The S Club project produced several stars including Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Holly Willoughby, Ben Barnes, as well as Frankie Sandford and Rochelle Wiseman of The Saturdays.

In 2001, Fuller created the British television show Pop Idol.[20] The show broke TV records when it was broadcast over two series in the UK, as well as uncovering Will Young whose single Evergreen became the ‘biggest selling single of the century’ in the UK.[21] Fuller sold the show to the Fox network in the US, and American Idol quickly became a No.1 rated show. The show has made stars of its presenter Ryan Seacrest as well as judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, as well as many of its performers.[22] And later the show has featured many more high profiled judges including Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Keith Urban.[23]

American Idol has since won many awards, it remains the most popular entertainment show on US network TV and has been credited with originating a new form of reality TV. It is claimed to be the most valuable TV format in the world with a value of over $8 billion, made up of revenue from sponsors, merchandising, telephone, music sales, broadcast and advertising sources. Over 30 million viewers saw David Cook win the seventh season of American Idol in May 2008 and when Fuller re-launched the show in 2011 for its 10th season ratings climbed 20% for the finale event. 122.4 million votes were cast, a record for a reality TV show.[24] In 2005 Fuller, along with co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, launched So You Think You Can Dance on the Fox network in the USA. The show grew over four seasons to become a regular summer hit. In 2007 Fuller signed a deal to represent comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams with regard to developing their award winning BBC TV show Little Britain for the United States,[25] called Little Britain USA. In 2012 Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment created a new international format with Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Jamie King named Q'Viva! The Chosen, and described as a celebration of Latin culture that screened in 21 territories reaching over 30 million Spanish speaking TV viewers.[26] That year Fuller also announced that he would partner with Lions Gate Entertainment in order to produce a contemporary television musical drama chronicling the lives and loves of a young California rock-and-roll band.[27]

Impact in music culture[edit]

In 2008, Simon Fuller was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine,[4] having produced over 500 No.1 hit singles globally and over 240 No.1 albums; his reputation for supporting new music talent is well documented.[28] He has managed the career of Annie Lennox since the release of her multi platinum, award winning album Diva in 1991. Lennox has sold 80 million records and has been called "the greatest white soul singer alive" by VH1. He has managed the careers of a number of hit songwriters and producers, most notably Cathy Dennis, who first met Fuller as the singer of D Mob in the 1980s. Under Fuller's guidance Cathy Dennis has become the UK's No.1 female songwriter with a string of global hits for artists including Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Pink, Will Young and others,[29] and Simon Fuller spoke of his relationship with Dennis in Music Week dated 15.12.07. In 2002 Fuller's company discovered 19-year old Amy Winehouse, produced her first award winning album and signed her to Universal Music. Winehouse left 19 Management in spring 2006 and signed to Raye Cosbert / Metropolis Music.

Fuller managed the Spice Girls through the peak of their success.[30] The "management svengali" (as affectionately described by the British media)[31] is widely credited with masterminding their most creative period with hits including "Wannabe", as well bringing them a number of globally lucrative sponsorship deals with Pepsi, Polaroid, Walkers, Cadbury, Asda, Elida Faberge (Unilever) and others. He famously introduced Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) to her future husband David Beckham. Under Fuller, the Spice Girls rose to chart topper status and went on to sell over 37.5 million records in less than three years. In November 1997 the girls decided to manage themselves and they parted company with Fuller. The group later disbanded and it was not long before Fuller was approached to manage the career of former Spice Girls Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham.[32][33]

Fuller's interests in music make him one of the most powerful figures in the global entertainment industry.[34] In 2012 he announced a new working partnership with Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and owner of Bob Marley catalogue.[35] The new venture is named Blackwell Fuller. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the biggest selling music acts in North America (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry) were all managed by Simon Fuller.

Expansion into fashion[edit]

In 2006, Simon Fuller launched his first fashion venture 19RM with acclaimed designer Roland Mouret, the man behind the Galaxy dress made famous by Scarlett Johansson and other Hollywood celebrities. In 2011, Mouret and Fuller opened their first retail venture, a six-floor headquarters in Carlos Place, London comprising retail, design and Atelier in one building. In 2009 Simon Fuller brokered a deal for 19 Entertainment to purchase a majority share in Storm Model Management, the celebrated British agency that has Kate Moss, Emma Watson, Jourdan Dunn, Cindy Crawford, Lily Cole, Eva Herzigova and Alek Wek and many others on their books.

Simon Fuller is responsible for masterminding the Beckhams' fashion and commercial activities including their perfume range, which has built up a retail value in excess of $200 million. In 2008 Fuller launched the Victoria Beckham dress collection at New York Fashion Week, which has since won many plaudits including Brand of The Year at the 2012 and 2014 British Fashion Awards, as well as becoming the best selling high end label of the season. In 2012 Simon Fuller accompanied Victoria Beckham on a trip to Beijing to launch their business in China,[36] and to promote a new venture with British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover.[37] On 1 February 2012 Simon Fuller's business XIX Entertainment launched the David Beckham bodywear range in London with H&M, attended by a global advertising and promotion campaign.[38] In 2014 Simon Fuller and David Beckham announced a new joint venture with Hong Kong-based Global Brands Group Holding Ltd (787) to develop David Beckham and other icon branded consumer products.[39]

Sports activity[edit]

A lifelong football fan and Manchester United season ticket holder, Fuller first ventured into sports management in the mid-1990s, when he negotiated the historic first post Bosman transfer of England footballer Steve McManaman to Real Madrid.[40] Fuller later formed a joint venture partnership with David Beckham, and masterminded Beckham's $250 million move to LA Galaxy in 2007 and he remains Beckham's closest advisor. Fuller co-founded a sports company named 1966 with sports agent Terry Byrne to improve the public image of the England Football team players' interests, founding the player's charity which has since raised almost £1,000,000. 1966 is now owned solely by Byrne.

Fuller's desire to break new ground in sport led to him creating the world's first 'green' Formula 1 racing car to promote environmental causes.[41] His "Earth Car" created for Honda Racing F1 competed throughout the 2007 Formula One season driven by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and Fuller won a Green Award in the UK for his contribution to environmental awareness. In 2009, Fuller took on personal representation of tennis player Andy Murray,[42] guiding him to Grand Slam and Wimbledon wins and later helping the player to establish his own business. In March 2011, Simon Fuller was announced as the manager of British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton [43] and surprised many within F1 when he moved Hamilton from McLaren and signed him to a long term contract with the MercedesAMG team. In 2014 Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 F1 World Championship and publicly thanked Simon Fuller.[44] In 2013 it was announced that Simon Fuller was managing 2012 Tour De France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins.

In 2014 Simon Fuller and David Beckham revealed their plan to buy an MLS football team in Miami [45] and in the same year Fuller was revealed as the mastermind behind Beckham's involvement in a new global whiskey launch with leading British drinks company Diageo.[46]

Charity work[edit]

Simon Fuller has been publicly recognised for his support for good causes most notably through his idea Idol Gives Back,[47] which over five years has raised over $185 million for charities including Malaria No More, Save The Children and others. In December 2010 Simon Fuller was honoured by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: "Simon Fuller is an extraordinary leader" he said. "Idol Gives Back is a tremendous initiative in giving Americans a way to save lives around the world”.[48] In 2008, HRH The Prince of Wales thanked Fuller for his support of the Prince's charity, The Prince's Trust, stating; "He has been one of the most effective and generous ambassadors for my Trust, which I set up 32 years ago to help the most disadvantaged young people in the United Kingdom. There are many young people in the United Kingdom whose lives have been transformed and, in some cases, saved – literally – thanks to the contribution which Simon has made."[15] Since 2009, Fuller has been a Trustee for Malaria No More UK and has shared his own experience of malaria with the charity.

Personal life[edit]

Simon Fuller was born on 17 May 1960 in Cyprus.[49] Having spent some of his childhood in a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus, where his father, a Royal Air Force pilot, had established a school, the family moved to Accra, Ghana where his father was the headmaster of the British Military School, Burma Camp. The family moved back to Hastings, East Sussex, England where Simon's father became headmaster of the school he attended.[50] He has two brothers, Kim and Mark. He married his long term girlfriend Natalie Swanston in May 2008, and they had a baby daughter together. Fuller has a portfolio of real estate including properties in Europe, North America and South America. In 2014 Simon Fuller was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Sussex. [51]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2014 Honorary Degree, University of Sussex
  • 2013 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2012 Anglo-American Cultural Award NYC
  • 2012 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2011 Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • 2011 Humanitarian Honoree, Save the Children Awards LA
  • 2011 Humanitarian Honoree, Malaria No More Awards NYC
  • 2011 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2010 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2009 Top 100 New Establishment, Vanity Fair
  • 2009 Businessman of the Year, Harpers Bazaar UK
  • 2009 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2008 Humanitarian Honoree, Black Ball Keep A Child Alive for HIV / AIDS work NYC
  • 2008 Peter Grant Award, Music Managers Forum
  • 2008 Visionary Award, Producers Guild of America
  • 2008 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2007 Top Trend Setter, Forbes Magazine[52]
  • 2007 Green Award
  • 2007 Emmy: Governor's Award: Idol Gives Back
  • 2007 100 Most Influential People in the World, Time Magazine
  • 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year, GQ Magazine
  • 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2004 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program – Nominee
  • 2003 Grammy: Album of the Year – Nominee


  1. ^ a b Simon Fuller to Bernie Ecclestone: Ten of the greatest British entrepreneurs. Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 May 2012
  2. ^ The man with stars in his eyes The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2012
  3. ^ The TIME 100: Simon Fuller, Time. Retrieved 3 May 2007
  4. ^ a b "Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller is 'most successful British manager '". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 May 2008. 
  5. ^ Simon Fuller: Hollywood Walk of Fame Retrieved 15 June 2011
  6. ^ UK's Music Millionaires 2012 "Sunday Times Rich List". London: 29 April 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  7. ^ ‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller Gets Star On Walk Of Fame" CBS. Retrieved 23 Msy 2012
  8. ^ Jamie Doward (27 July 2003). "Reign maker". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2012
  9. ^ Josh Dunlop. "30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time". Income Diary. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  10. ^ CKX chief's departure could set off bidding war for 'American Idol' parent Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  11. ^ Sweney, Mark (3 March 2009) 19 Entertainment profits soar The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  12. ^ Georg Szalai (2 May 2011). "‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller’s 2010 CKX Compensation: $14.2 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Matthew Garrahan (14 March 2011). "Fuller’s XIX now valued at $100m". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "XIX ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED". Companies in the UK. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Prince Charles and Gordon Brown pay tribute to Pop Idol mastermind Simon Fuller". London: Daily Mail. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "S Club reach for the top". BBC News (BBC). 18 June 2000. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "S Club 8 in the hotseat". BBC. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Catherine Applefeld Olson (18 May 2008). "New shows in the works from "Idol" creator". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Profile: Holly Willoughby". BBC. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Clash of the Simons: Fuller and Cowell are gearing up to go head-to-head in the biggest battle of egos TV has ever seen". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 May 2012
  21. ^ "Will Young's 'Evergreen' revealed as biggest selling single of 21st century". NME. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  22. ^ Stephen M. Silverman (18 October 2002). "'American Idol' Judges Set to Return". People. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  23. ^ Gil Kaufman (6 January 2011). "New 'American Idol' Judges Promise 'Different Kind Of Vibe'". Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  24. ^ 'American Idol': Record 122 Million Votes Cast Following Final Performance Show The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 August 2011
  25. ^ "Entertainment | Victoria Beckham aims for TV show". BBC News. 24 August 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  26. ^ Simon Fuller, Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Team With Jamie King For Trilingual Reality Series ‘Q’Viva! The Chosen’ Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 23 August 2011
  27. ^ "Lionsgate, Simon Fuller To Develop TV Musical Drama About Rock Band". Deadline Hollywood. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Goldsmith, Harvey; Membery, York (31 March 2012). Daily Mail (London)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Singh, Anita (11 August 2008). "Forgotten pop star Cathy Dennis scores Transatlantic number one as songwriter". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  30. ^ Domenic Pride (12 June 1999). "19 Records' 21st Century Girls". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  31. ^ Jim Armitae (18 March 2005). "Pop svengali's £100m windfall". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  32. ^ Ex-Spice Emma signs new deal. Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2012
  33. ^ Storm In A Teacup. Vogue. Retrieved 1 June 2012
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. (13 June 2011) 'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Launches Joint Venture With Chris Blackwell. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  35. ^ Powers, Lindsay (13 June 2011). "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller, Chris Blackwell Launch Joint Venture". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  36. ^ A very special edition: Simon Fuller managed Victoria Beckham stars as Range Rover’s new designer. (23 April 2012). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  37. ^ A very special edition: Simon Fuller managed Victoria Beckham stars as Range Rover's new designer. (23 April 2012). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  38. ^ David Beckham H&M Underwear Range & Naked Photoshoot ( UK). (4 April 2012). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  39. ^
  40. ^ " 12M BARCA DITCH `GREEDY` MACCA Retrieved 6 February 2011
  41. ^ [1][dead link]
  42. ^ Andy Murray banks on yoga and Simon Fuller ahead of Australian Open final The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 June 2012
  43. ^ Lewis Hamilton joins Simon Fuller management company BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  44. ^
  45. ^ David Beckham reveals purchase of MLS Miami franchise. Espn Fc (5 February 2014). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  46. ^ Resource Item. (8 April 2014). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  47. ^ [2][dead link]
  48. ^ United Nations Foundation – Joining Forces: Historic Alliance Builds Largest Network of American UN Supporters. (18 November 2010). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  49. ^ Geoffrey Wansell (18 April 2002). "This man wants to rule the world". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  50. ^ Marre, Oliver The man with stars in his eyes The Observer Sunday 14 January 2007
  51. ^
  52. ^ Rose, Lacey (28 August 2007). "In Pictures: The Trendsetters". Forbes. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 

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