We can’t say we didn’t see this coming.
As we reported, Katy Kat’s healthy paycheck royally screwed over the budget for the reality singing competition, leaving very little wiggle room to negotiate with the other two judges.
The production eventually booked Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan to complete the superstar trio, making it look like everything is running smoothly on the surface.
But behind the scenes, execs are apparently worried that this overpriced concert might completely blow up in their faces!
An insider told Page Six that Katy’s deal — not to mention Ryan Seacrest‘s hefty $15 salary — left mere “pennies” for fellow judges, cutting into costs so deep that execs had to expand their budget to land the rest of the talent. The source explained:
“ABC was originally going to spend no more than $50 million on talent. They had to expand their budget for Lionel.”
The network source told the publication that it was CEO Ben Sherwood who signed off on Katy’s staggering paycheck without thinking of how it would impact the rest of the production budget:
“Ben Sherwood blew the budget on Katy without thinking how that would impact other areas of the show budget. He gambled on her because of her appeal to a younger audience and huge social-media following. But Katy is effectively taking money from the other judges, who then had to be paid way less.”
We guess he was looking through those Kitty Purry tinted glasses. Can you really blame him?
Understandably, Katy’s deal caused some financial drama with Bryan and Richie. The source added:
“The negotiations with Luke and Lionel have been fraught and difficult because of [Katy’s paycheck]. They expected similar deals to Katy, but are, in fact, getting a hell of a lot less. In the end, ABC had to cough up a second round of money to sign the other judges.”
Just how much did they lowball the other musicians? A mere $2.5 million each!
This measly offer offended Richie and Bryan, of course, who refused to signed their deals until ABC coughed up more dough. The source continued:
“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.”
Despite multiple sources detailing the money drama, an ABC rep claimed to Page Six that it’s “not true. Ben never had to get involved, and the deals were done within the original ABC talent budget for the show.” Hmm…