Simon Fuller (born 17 May 1960 in Hastings, East Sussex, England) is an artist manager, television producer and creator of the Idol franchise, first seen as Pop Idol in the UK and over 100 other versions including American Idol, Australian Idol, Canadian Idol, Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Indian Idol, Nouvelle Star, New Zealand Idol and World Idol. Simon Fuller is also the co-creator and executive producer of the Fox TV reality show So You Think You Can Dance and other US and European TV shows. He is an executive producer of Little Britain USA, a TV show that he signed to HBO and BBC TV in 2008. He is, or has been, the manager of performers and entertainers including David and Victoria Beckham, Claudia Schiffer, Annie Lennox, Andy Murray, Spice Girls, Cathy Dennis, Sam and Mark, Carrie Underwood, Samantha Ronson, Will Young, Mini Viva, David Cook and others. His brother is comedy writer and director Kim Fuller.
Simon Fuller is Chief Executive of 19 Entertainment, based in London, Los Angeles and New York City, which he founded in 1985. Prior to forming 19 Entertainment, from 1981 to 1985, Mr. Fuller worked at Chrysalis, in publishing (Chrysalis Limited) and A&R (Chrysalis Records). In 1983 he was responsible for signing Madonna's first hit 'Holiday' to the company. When he discovered Paul Hardcastle in 1985 he started his own management company aged 25. Hardcastle went to No.1 in the US and UK single chart with his Vietnam war song, "19"
In March 2005, Simon Fuller sold 19 Entertainment to CKX, Inc. in a cash and stock deal worth over $200 million. 19 Entertainment employs 180 people based in London, New York, Nashville and in Europe and delivered a profit of $92 million into its parent company during 2008. Simon Fuller remains in his role as President of 19 but has become a director of CKX, a position which includes responsibility for the Elvis Presley Estate, Muhammad Ali’s business interests and other iconic rights properties. In 2007, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In February 2008 Simon Fuller was presented with the PGA Award by the Producers Guild of America in Hollywood. At the event he was praised for his creativity, entrepreneurialism and charity work by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP and HRH The Prince of Wales, who also thanked Fuller for his support of the Prince's charity The Prince's Trust.
Fuller's first venture into TV took place in 1999. He auditioned over 10,000 people to form S Club 7 which became a No.1 pop group and a BBC TV show which was seen in over 100 territories around the world. The group has since split up with former members Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee and Hannah Spearritt going on to enjoy solo success in music and film, although Jo O'Meara attracted controversy during the TV series Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. An offspring of the show 'S Club Juniors' and its spinoff TV drama series 'I Dream' established a blue print for squeaky clean teen TV.
In 1998 Fuller came up with an idea that would prove to be one of the definitive television and music brands of the 2000s when he created the television show formats of Pop Idol, American Idol, World Idol, Australian Idol and Canadian Idol. plus other spin-offs. Pop Idol broke TV records when it was broadcast over two series in the UK, as well as uncovering a major new talent in Will Young. Fuller sold the show to the Fox network in the States, and American Idol quickly became a No.1 rated show. The show has made stars of its presenters Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, as well as many of its performers. In Australia "Network Ten" purchased the format and to this day Australian Idol is one of the most "original" Idol shows from around the world. In Canada, the show, like in Australia has become an original format.
Now in its eighth series American Idol is claimed to be the most valuable TV format in the world with a value of over $2.5 billion, made up of revenue from sponsors, merchandising, telephone, music sales, broadcast and advertising sources. Over 90 million viewers saw David Cook win the seventh season of American Idol in May 2008 on a night where over 90 million votes were cast. According to the Sunday Times the show has made Simon Fuller the most powerful man in American TV.
In 2005 Simon Fuller, along with co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, launched So You Think You Can Dance on the Fox Channel in the USA. The show has grown over four seasons to become a regular summer hit. In 2007 Fuller has 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, called Little Britain USA.
Simon Fuller 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.
Simon Fuller manages 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. Fuller tells how his relationship with Cathy Dennis started in 1986 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.
Simon Fuller managed the Spice Girls through the peak of their success. The 'management svengali' (as 'affectionately' described by the British media) 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 375 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. In 2008 Geri Halliwell has been working with Fuller to break into the American Market.
Simon Fuller's interests in music make him one of the most powerful figures in the global entertainment industry. His company 19 Recordings holds exclusive recording rights for Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Will Young, David Archuleta. and others, as well as stars from Germany, Australia, Canada and other territories. The recording label 19 Recordings has sold over 50 million copies of American Idol music in North America alone since the show was first broadcast. 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.
In August 2006 Fuller entered the fashion business through 19RM a joint venture company with critically acclaimed fashion designer Roland Mouret, the man behind the Galaxy dress made famous by Scarlett Johansson and other Hollywood celebrities. Since then Simon has taken on global representation for Claudia Schiffer. He has launched the Beckhams' fashion label DVB brand which includes perfume and denim ranges. The Beckham's fashion range has become one of the most successful celebrity lines in the world with a retail value in excess of $200 million. In 2008 Simon Fuller of Marinette, WI masterminded the new Victoria Beckham Dress collection, which has been critically applauded and has since become the best selling high end label of the season.
A lifelong football fan and Manchester United season ticket holder Simon Fuller first ventured into sports management in the mid 1990s, where he guided England and Liverpool FC footballer Steve McManaman to Real Madrid. Fuller later formed a joint venture partnership with David Beckham, and masterminded Beckham's $250 million move to LA Galaxy in 2007. He remains Beckham's closest advisor. Simon Fuller founded a sports company named 1966 to help improve the public image of the England Football team players interests. He founded the player's charity which has since raised almost £1,000,000 for good causes.
Fuller's 19 Entertainment was the first company to successfully persuade a Formula One racing car to promote the environment. His "Earth Car" created for Honda Racing F1 competed throughout the 2007 Formula One season driven by British driver Jenson Button and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Fuller went on to win a leading Green Award in the UK for his contribution to environmental awareness. Fuller, Beckham and Barrichello are at work on a project in Natal, Brazil, Cabo Sao Roque, which will incorporate Fuller's World of Sport concept with a resort and land preserve, being designed by Hart Howerton, a New York architectural firm which specializes in large-scale land use. Hart Howerton previously worked with the Disney Company in the 1960s, developing a master plan for Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
In 2009 Simon Fuller took on personal representation of world tennis No.3 Andy Murray, and his Wimbledon-doubles winning brother Jamie Murray.
Simon Fuller has two brothers, Kim and Mark. He married his long term girlfriend, US interior designer Natalie Swanston in May 2008. Fuller has a portfolio of real estate including properties in London, Sussex, South of France, Italy, Uruguay, New York, Los Angeles, Napa Valley and Nashville.
Awards and Citations
- 2008 Humanitarian Honour, Black Ball
- 2008 Peter Grant Award, Music Managers Forum
- 2008 Visionary Award, Producers Guild of America
- 2007 Top Trend Setter, Forbes Magazine
- 2007 Green Award
- 2007 Emmy: Governor's Award: Idol Gives Back
- 2007 100 Most Influential People In The World, Time Magazine
- 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