Katy Perry’s Huge ‘American Idol’ Salary Reportedly ‘Left Pennies’ For Luke Bryan And Lionel Richie

When Katy Perry inked a deal with ABC for $25 million to be a judge on the American Idol reboot, it ended up causing problems for the network when it came to filling out the judge’s panel. After three months of trying to get talent with low ball contract offers, the show finally hired country superstar Luke Bryan and the legendary Lionel Richie, and their deals didn’t come close to Perry’s payday.

On top of the Fireworks singer’s deal, the show also signed Ryan Seacrest to return as host for a reported $15 million, and the original $50 million talent budget was all but gone. So how did the show sign Bryan and Richie? Page Six is reporting that ABC CEO/President Brian Sherwood had to authorize a bigger budget and take a gamble that the show would be successful enough to cover the expense.

The reality show originally offered Bryan and Richie $2.5 million each, but each singer demanded more.

“As of last week, their contracts were not done. Sherwood authorized ABC to cough up more money. They’re both making about $7 million each now. This has become a very expensive show. If ‘Idol’ doesn’t work, it will blow up big time in Sherwood’s face. If it does work, he’s a genius,” the network source told Page Six.


The network thought signing Katy Perry for such a huge amount was worth the risk because of her appeal to younger viewers and her social media following, but it ended up leaving “pennies” for the other two judges, forcing ABC to spend more money than originally planned. This will make it much more difficult for the show to turn a profit and be successful.

There is no turning back at this point. With a network premiere set for March of 2018, the show officially began its first round of auditions this week in New York City. According to Us Weekly, Seacrest chronicled the day’s events on social media, complete with “all night long” jokes, referencing Richie’s hit single in explaining how long the auditions will take.


When speaking with People magazine, Perry said she agreed to do the show because she wants to give back and be a mentor to young people in the industry. Even though she is currently on tour and promoting an album, she says she has found a balance to be able to do those things and be on Idol.

Ultimately, the show can make “dreams come true” and “change people’s lives,” and that fact drew all three judges to the reality competition.

Catch Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie when American Idol premieres on ABC in March 2018.

[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]