Simon Fuller

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Simon Robert Fuller
Born (1960-05-17) 17 May 1960 (age 62)
British Cyprus
OriginHastings, East Sussex, England
OccupationsTalent manager, television producer, investor, creative consultant
Years active1981–present
Labels19 Entertainment (1985–2010)
XIX Entertainment (2010–)
Websitexixentertainment.com

Simon Fuller (born 17 May 1960) is a British entrepreneur, artist manager, and film and television producer. He is the creator of the Idols TV format, including the UK series Pop Idol and the US series American Idol.

In 2020, Fuller signed an exclusive agreement with tech firm TikTok to create a new TikTok supergroup[1] and concluded an agreement with Verizon Communications to develop 5G content.[2] In 2021 Pearson PLC announced a partnership with Simon Fuller to create a new global education business in Performing Arts.[3]

In 2016, Simon Fuller persuaded Swedish quartet ABBA to re-unite to explore working in virtual reality,[4] which led to the ABBA Voyage project.[5]

Time has named Fuller one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[6] In 2008, he was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard.[7] Fuller received the 2,441st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 23 May 2011.[8] In 2014 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Brighton in his home county East Sussex in recognition for his "contribution to business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy". The 2020 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Fuller's wealth at £445 million.[9]

Biography[edit]

Fuller was born on 17 May 1960 in British Cyprus,[10] though later 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, where Simon's father became headmaster of the school he attended.[11] He has two brothers, Kim and Mark.

Fuller began his career in 1981 at Chrysalis in A&R (Chrysalis Records) in the UK,[12] where he signed Madonna's first hit 'Holiday' to the company. He started his own management company in London in 1985, 19 Entertainment,[13] eventually selling the business to CKX, Inc. in a cash and stock deal worth over $200 million in March 2005.[14] In 2008 the company delivered a profit of $92.5 million (£66m) into the parent company.[15] 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 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.[16] XIX Entertainment was given a valuation of $100 million and is run from offices in London and Los Angeles.[17][18]

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 Prince Charles who also thanked Fuller for his support of the Prince's charity The Prince's Trust.

TV production, formats, technology[edit]

Fuller's first broadcast venture was Miami 7, a scripted teen TV drama starring the British pop group S Club 7 screened by BBC/Fox Kids in 100+ territories around the world.[19] Miami 7 launched the careers of several stars including Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Holly Willoughby, and Ben Barnes, and the show created a blueprint for the teen-orientated television musicals that followed, including Glee and High School Musical.[20]

In 2001, Fuller created Pop Idol, a Saturday night prime time TV show on British television that Maggie Brown in The Guardian states "became a seminal reality/entertainment format".[21] After a meeting with Alan Boyd (then head of Thames TV), Fuller and Simon Cowell successfully pitched the show to Claudia Rosencrantz, the Controller of Entertainment for ITV.[21] Cowell as a judge on Pop Idol became a major public figure in entertainment, and the show produced instant No 1 chart hits, including for Will Young, whose single "Evergreen" was named by NME magazine in 2012 as the "biggest selling single of the century" in the UK.[22] Fuller sold Pop Idol around the world, and he has been credited with creating the world's most valuable TV format with a value of over $8 billion made up of revenue from sponsors, merchandising, telephone, music sales, broadcast and advertising sources. In the US American Idol became a No.1 rated show. Cowell also became a judge on the US version, and the show made stars of its presenter Ryan Seacrest as well as Cowell's co-judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul as well as many of its performers including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and others.[23] 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 US. The show grew over 16 seasons to become a regular summer hit.[25] 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]

In December 2016, Norwegian state broadcaster NRK announced that it had concluded a deal with Simon Fuller to produce the English language version of Skam; Fuller later announced a deal with Facebook to launch award-winning drama format SKAM Austin in the US in 2018.[27][28]

In 2017, international news media reported on auditions being staged by Fuller's business XIX for Now United, a real time access global pop group being cast in 14 cities around the world.[29][30] In 2019, the London Evening Standard confirmed that BBC1 would broadcast Serengeti, a wildlife drama created by Fuller.[31] In July 2020, US media reported that "Serengeti", voiced by Lupita Nyong'o, created by Simon Fuller, was nominated for a Primetime EMMY Award [32]

Impact on music culture[edit]

Fuller came to prominence in the 1990s for managing the pop group the Spice Girls.[33] He has managed acts including Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, S Club 7, Now United, Steven Tyler, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Will Young, Emma Bunton, Any Gabrielly, The Future X Lisa Marie Presley and many more in addition to sports icons Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray.[34]

In 2008, Fuller was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine.[7] He has managed the career of Annie Lennox since the release of her multi platinum album Diva in 1991.[35] He has managed hit songwriters and producers, including Cathy Dennis, who first met Fuller as the singer of D Mob in the 1980s. Under Fuller's guidance, Dennis became the UK's No. 1 female songwriter with a string of hits for artists including Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Pink, Will Young, and others.[36]

Fuller managed the Spice Girls through the peak of their 1990s success and he remains in partnership with the five girls today.[37][38] Under Fuller's guidance, the Spice Girls became a marketing phenomenon, rose to chart topper status worldwide and went on to sell over 85 million records.[39][40] In 2002, Fuller's company discovered 19-year-old Amy Winehouse, produced her first award-winning album Frank and signed her to Universal Music.[35]

In 2005, 2006, and 2007, the biggest selling music acts in North America (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Daughtry) were all managed by Fuller.[41] In October 2016, Fuller announced a joint venture with the 4 original members of the Swedish supergroup ABBA to create a new digital ABBA;[42] In August 2020, BBC News announced that Fuller had signed an exclusive agreement with tech firm TikTok to create a new TikTok supergroup.[43]

Fashion activity[edit]

Fuller owns significant stakes in British fashion businesses Victoria Beckham Ltd. In 2006, Fuller brokered the deal for 19 Entertainment to purchase a majority share in Storm Model Management. In 2008, Fuller launched the Victoria Beckham dress collection at New York Fashion Week. Since then Victoria Beckham Limited has grown to become a best selling high-end fashion brand, stocked in over 400 outlets around the world and winning Brand of The Year at the 2012 and 2014 British Fashion Awards. In 2012, Fuller accompanied Victoria Beckham to launch the business in China.[44]

In February 2012, XIX Entertainment launched a David Beckham bodywear range in 2,500 H&M stores around the world.[45] This was followed in 2015 when Fuller announced a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Global Brands Group Holding Ltd (787) giving Fuller and Beckham ownership of their own apparel business specifically to develop the David Beckham brand and other consumer products.[46] The first result of this partnership was the Fall 2016 re-launch of the British heritage menswear label Kent & Curwen, which under Beckham, Fuller and 7 Global ownership currently runs 113 stores in 51 cities worldwide.[47] In 2019, US media reported that Fuller sold 33% share of David Beckham business for $50 million after generating revenue of $72.4 million and a profit of $16 million for fiscal 2017.[48]

Sports activity[edit]

In 2003, Fuller formed a joint venture partnership with British footballer David Beckham, building a global business[49] and later negotiating his five year contract to join LA Galaxy. In 2014, Fuller and Beckham discussed plans to buy an MLS football team in Miami.[50] Later in the same year Fuller and Beckham launched a new global whisky in partnership with British drinks company Diageo.[51] Fuller's plan to deliver Beckham's ownership of an MLS team was announced in January 2018 when Miami was confirmed as 25th MLS team.[52][53] The Financial Times reported that Fuller sold his interests in David Beckham's business in 2019 for a reported £50m.[54]

In 2009, Fuller took on personal representation of British No.1 tennis player Andy Murray,[55] representing him during his US Open and Wimbledon wins and later helping the player to establish his own business. In March 2011, Fuller was announced as the manager of British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton[56] and surprised many when he moved Hamilton from McLaren and signed him to a long-term contract with the MercedesAMG team. Hamilton won the 2014 F1 World Championship and publicly thanked Fuller for his support.[57]

Charity work[edit]

Fuller has championed many causes through his working life including The Prince's Trust, Amnesty International, Save the Children, United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, Greenpeace, WWF and Comic Relief. His idea for a philanthropic TV platform Idol Gives Back raised well over $185 million for US and African charities and led to Fuller being honored by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2011: "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".[58]

In 2008, Charles, Prince of Wales, thanked Fuller for his support of 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."[citation needed]

In 2009, Fuller founded Malaria No More UK in London, donating resources and funds to allow the charity to lead the fight against malaria. Fuller remains a passionate ambassador for the cause and has shared his own experience of malaria with the charity.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Fuller married his long-term girlfriend Natalie Swanston in May 2008, and they have three children.[59]

He has a portfolio of real estate including properties in Europe, North America, and South America. In 2014, Fuller was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Brighton in recognition for his "contribution to business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy".[60]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Britweek Award[61]
  • 2016 Governor's Award Creative Arts Emmy[62]
  • 2014 Honorary Degree, University of Brighton[63]
  • 2011 Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame[64]
  • 2007 Top Trend Setter, Forbes Magazine[65]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American Idol creator Simon Fuller turns to TikTok talent". BBC News. 7 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Simon Fuller, Verizon Form Pact to Develop 5G Music and Entertainment Experiences (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Pearson and Simon Fuller join forces to set up Academy of Pop". the Guardian. 15 October 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  4. ^ "ABBA back together for Simon Fuller project".
  5. ^ "ABBA tease major announcement ahead of new music". BBC News. 26 August 2021.
  6. ^ The TIME 100: Simon Fuller, Time. Retrieved 3 May 2007
  7. ^ a b "Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller is 'most successful British manager'". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 19 May 2008.
  8. ^ Simon Fuller: Hollywood Walk of Fame WalkofFame.com. Retrieved 15 June 2011
  9. ^ "Sussex's richest people – and how they made their money". The Argus. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  10. ^ Geoffrey Wansell (18 April 2002). "This man wants to rule the world". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  11. ^ Marre, Oliver "The man with stars in his eyes", guardian.co.uk, 14 January 2007.
  12. ^ "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Gets Star On Walk Of Fame", losangeles.cbslocal.com; retrieved 23 May 2012
  13. ^ Jamie Doward (27 July 2003). "Reign maker", The Guardian, 27 July 2003; retrieved 23 May 2012.
  14. ^ CKX chief's departure could set off bidding war for 'American Idol' parent Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  15. ^ Sweney, Mark (3 March 2009) 19 Entertainment profits soar The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  16. ^ Georg Szalai (2 May 2011). "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller's 2010 CKX Compensation: $14.2 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  17. ^ Matthew Garrahan (14 March 2011). "Fuller's XIX now valued at $100m". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  18. ^ "XIX Entertainment Ltd profile". Companies in the UK. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  19. ^ "S Club reach for the top". BBC News. BBC. 18 June 2000. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  20. ^ Catherine Applefeld Olson (18 May 2008). "New shows in the works from "Idol" creator". Billboard. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  21. ^ a b "The scribbled note that changed TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Will Young's 'Evergreen' revealed as biggest selling single of 21st century". NME. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  23. ^ Stephen M. Silverman (18 October 2002). "'American Idol' Judges Set to Return". People. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  24. ^ 'American Idol': Record 122 Million Votes Cast Following Final Performance Show The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 August 2011
  25. ^ "Meet 'So You Think You Can Dance' Season 16's Top 10 Dancers (PHOTO)".
  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. ^ Clarke, Stewart (18 October 2017). "Facebook Orders Online Teen Drama 'Skam'". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  28. ^ Schwindt, Oriana (9 December 2016). "Simon Fuller to Bring 'Shame' to American, Canadian Audiences". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  29. ^ "#PopGroup: Simon Fuller talks 'Now United' and his search inside Mumbai!". Urban Asian. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Sem glamour de reality, dono da franquia "Idol" busca estrela pop no Brasil" (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Serengeti on BBC One: New nature documentary from Simon Fuller is a dramatic savannah soap", London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 October 2019
  32. ^ "Emmys: Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o, Octavia Spencer, Anna Kendrick, Zendaya Among 42 First-Time Nominees". 28 July 2020.
  33. ^ The man with stars in his eyes The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2012
  34. ^ "Annie Lennox behind the Spice Girls' success, says Simon Fuller". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  35. ^ a b "Simon Fuller thanks Simon Cowell and the Beckhams". BBC. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  36. ^ Singh, Anita (11 August 2008). "Forgotten pop star Cathy Dennis scores Transatlantic number one as songwriter". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
  37. ^ Domenic Pride (12 June 1999). "19 Records' 21st Century Girls". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  38. ^ Jim Armitae (18 March 2005). "Pop svengali's £100m windfall". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  39. ^ "Spice Girls collection mission for Liz West". BBC News. London. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  40. ^ "My Life as a Spice Girl: Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell (Now Horner) Looks Back at the Beginnings of a Pop Culture Phenomenon". Marie Claire. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  41. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. (13 June 2011) "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Launches Joint Venture With Chris Blackwell", Deadline.com; retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  42. ^ "Abba reunion on the cards thanks to Simon Fuller". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
  43. ^ "American Idol creator Simon Fuller turns to TikTok talent". BBC News. 7 August 2020.
  44. ^ A very special edition: Simon Fuller managed Victoria Beckham stars as Range Rover’s new designer, Prweb.com (23 April 2012); retrieved 22 May 2014.
  45. ^ David Beckham H&M Underwear Range & Naked Photoshoot (Vogue.com UK). Vogue.co.uk (4 April 2012); retrieved 22 May 2014.
  46. ^ Simon Fuller to brand it like Beckham in Hong Kong tie-up, bloomberg.com, 3 December 2014; accessed 31 July 2015.
  47. ^ wwd.com 16 September 2016;
  48. ^ “David Beckham Reportedly Buys Stake In His Company At $150 Million Valuation”. Forbes. Retrieved 8 October 2019
  49. ^ "Diageo launches David Beckham and Simon Fuller whisky brand Haig Club globally". The Drum. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  50. ^ David Beckham reveals purchase of MLS Miami franchise, EspnFc.com, 5 February 2014; retrieved 22 May 2014.
  51. ^ Resource Item Archived 26 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Diageo.com, 8 April 2014; retrieved 22 May 2014.
  52. ^ McMahon, Bobby. "Miami's Day Finally Comes For David Beckham, Partners And Fans As MLS Names 25th Team". Forbes. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  53. ^ "Football: Beckham confirms LA Galaxy move". the Guardian. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  54. ^ "David Beckham pays $50m for full control of his brand business". Financial Times. 10 May 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  55. ^ Andy Murray banks on yoga and Simon Fuller ahead of Australian Open final, The Daily Telegraph; retrieved 8 June 2012.
  56. ^ Lewis Hamilton joins Simon Fuller management company, BBC Sport; retrieved 11 April 2012
  57. ^ "How Lewis Hamilton's momentous move to Mercedes began in 2006". the Guardian. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  58. ^ "Joining Forces: Historic Alliance Builds Largest Network of American UN Supporters". United Nations Foundation. 18 November 2010. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  59. ^ "Simon Fuller". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  60. ^ Simon Fuller awarded an honorary degree by the University of Sussex, bbc.co.uk; accessed 31 July 2015.
  61. ^ "Simon Fuller to receive Entrepreneur of the Year Award in L.A next month". Music Business Worldwide. 16 March 2016.
  62. ^ "Emmys: 'American Idol' Tapped for 2016 Governors Award". hollywoodreporter.com. 19 August 2016.
  63. ^ "Simon Fuller receives Brighton University honorary degree". BBC News. 31 July 2014.
  64. ^ "Fuller thanks Cowell and Beckham". BBC News. 24 May 2011.
  65. ^ Rose, Lacey (28 August 2007). "In Pictures: The Trendsetters". Forbes. Retrieved 2 May 2010.[dead link]

External links[edit]