Simon Cowell is close to finishing a deal that would keep him at American Idol's judges' table through 2011, earning $45 million for each of the next three seasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The new deal includes the upcoming season — the final year in Cowell's current contract, which he had hinted could be his last — said Robert Sillerman, the CEO of CKX, the parent company of Idol's co-producer 19 Entertainment.
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"We've heard from Fox, who has asked us for approval for Simon Cowell to appear for three more years on Idol
,'" Sillerman said on an earnings call. "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."
Sillerman did not mention financial specifics, though he noted that Fox pays the judges' salaries. Cowell is set to earn $11 million more per season than under his current contract, according to the THR.
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TVGuide.com's calls to Fox were not immediately returned.
The news follows fellow judge Paula Abdul's exit from the show after negotiations went south. Fox has already renewed Kara DioGuardi's contract, and signed host Ryan Seacrest to a three-year, $45 million deal. Randy Jackson's contract expires after this season.
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