Simon Fuller (born 17 May 1960) is a British entrepreneur, artist manager, film and television producer. He is best known for being the creator of the Idol franchise, which was first seen in the UK under the name Pop Idol, and includes American Idol in the U.S. Fuller is also the executive producer of several shows including So You Think You Can Dance and Q'Viva.
|Born||17 May 1960|
|Origin||Hastings, East Sussex, England|
|Occupation(s)||Talent manager, A&R representative, television producer, creator of the Idol franchise|
|Labels||19 Entertainment (1985–2010)|
XIX Entertainment (2010–)
|Associated acts||David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray, Annie Lennox, Spice Girls, Jennifer Lopez, Abba, Amy Winehouse, Cathy Dennis, Carrie Underwood, Will Young, Lisa Marie Presley, Steven Tyler, S Club 7, Lewis Hamilton and others|
An influential figure in British popular culture, Fuller came to prominence through managing pop group the Spice Girls. He has managed a wide range of talent that includes David and Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, S Club 7, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Steven Tyler, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Will Young, Emma Bunton, Lisa Marie Presley, Gary Barlow, Cathy Dennis, Aloe Blacc, Steve McManaman and others. He is in partnership with the duo Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
In 2007, Time magazine named Fuller one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2008, Fuller was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine. Fuller received the 2,441st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 23 May 2011. 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 2016 Sunday Times Rich List values Fuller at £415m.
Fuller was born on 17 May 1960 in Cyprus. He spent some of his childhood in a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus, where his father, a Royal Air Force pilot, had established a school, 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. He has two brothers, Kim and Mark.
Fuller began his career in 1981 at Chrysalis in A&R (Chrysalis Records) in the UK, where he signed Madonna's first hit 'Holiday' to the company. He started his own management company in London in 1985, 19 Entertainment, eventually selling the business to CKX, Inc. in a cash and stock deal worth over $200 million in March 2005. In 2008 the company delivered a profit of $92.5 million (£66m) into the parent company. 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. XIX Entertainment was given a valuation of $100 million and is run from offices in London and Los Angeles.
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
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. Miami 7 launched the careers of several stars including Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Holly Willoughby, Ben Barnes, Frankie Sandford and Rochelle Wiseman, and the show created a blueprint for the teen-orientated television musicals that followed, including Glee and High School Musical.
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”. 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. 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. 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 quickly 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. 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.
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 four seasons to become a regular summer hit. 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.
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 North America in 2018.
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. In 2019 the London Evening Standard confirmed that BBC1 would broadcast Serengeti, a wildlife drama created by Fuller, and voiced by Lupita Nyong'o and John Boyega.
Impact in music culture
Simon Fuller has been certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine. He has managed the career of Annie Lennox since the release of her multi platinum album Diva in 1991. He has managed 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, 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. Fuller managed the Spice Girls through the peak of their 1990s success and he remains in partnership with the five girls today. 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. In 2002 Fuller's company discovered 19-year-old Amy Winehouse, produced her first award-winning album and signed her to Universal Music.
In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the biggest selling music acts in North America (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry) were all managed by Fuller. In October 2016 Fuller announced a joint venture with the 4 original members of the Swedish super group ABBA to involve Mamma Mia 2, new ABBA movie, London ABBA exhibition and the creation of the new digital ABBA.
Expansion into fashion
Simon Fuller owns significant stakes in British fashion businesses Victoria Beckham Ltd and the Roland Mouret brand. 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 400+ outlets around the world and winning plaudits that include Brand of The Year 2012 and 2014 British Fashion Awards. In 2012 Fuller accompanied Victoria Beckham to launch the business in China.
In February 2012, XIX Entertainment launched a David Beckham bodywear range in 2,500 H&M stores around the world. 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. 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. 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.
Fuller first ventured into sports management in the mid-1990s, when he negotiated the historic first post Bosman transfer of England footballer Steve McManaman to Real Madrid. In 2003 Fuller formed a joint venture partnership with David Beckham, and later masterminded Beckham's $250 million move to LA Galaxy. He remains Beckham's closest advisor.
In 2009, Fuller took on personal representation of tennis player Andy Murray, guiding him to Grand Slam and Wimbledon wins and later helping the player to establish his own business. In March 2011, Simon Fuller was announced as the manager of British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton 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, although Hamilton did not renew his deal with Fuller's XIX Entertainment company once it expired at the end of that year. In 2013 it was announced that Fuller was managing 2012 Tour De France winner, Bradley Wiggins, helping him to set up his own pro-cycling team.
In 2014, Fuller and Beckham discussed plan to buy an MLS football team in Miami and later the same year Fuller was revealed as the mastermind behind Beckham's involvement in a new global whisky launch with leading British drinks company Diageo.
Simon Fuller has championed many good 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".
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.". In 2009, Simon 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.
Fuller married his long-term girlfriend Natalie Swanston in May 2008, and they have three children.
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”.
Awards and nominations
- Simon Fuller to Bernie Ecclestone: Ten of the greatest British entrepreneurs. Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 May 2012
- The man with stars in his eyes The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2012
- "Annie Lennox behind the Spice Girls' success, says Simon Fuller". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- The TIME 100: Simon Fuller, Time. Retrieved 3 May 2007
- "Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller is 'most successful British manager'". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 19 May 2008.
- Simon Fuller: Hollywood Walk of Fame WalkofFame.com. Retrieved 15 June 2011
- Colson, Thomas (9 December 2016). "The 19 richest British people in film and TV". Business Insider UK. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- Geoffrey Wansell (18 April 2002). "This man wants to rule the world". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- Marre, Oliver "The man with stars in his eyes", guardian.co.uk, 14 January 2007.
- "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Gets Star On Walk Of Fame", losangeles.cbslocal.com; retrieved 23 May 2012
- Jamie Doward (27 July 2003). "Reign maker", The Guardian, 27 July 2003; retrieved 23 May 2012.
- CKX chief's departure could set off bidding war for 'American Idol' parent Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 April 2012
- Sweney, Mark (3 March 2009) 19 Entertainment profits soar The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2012
- Georg Szalai (2 May 2011). "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller's 2010 CKX Compensation: $14.2 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- Matthew Garrahan (14 March 2011). "Fuller's XIX now valued at $100m". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "XIX Entertainment Ltd profile". Companies in the UK. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Prince Charles and Gordon Brown pay tribute to Pop Idol mastermind Simon Fuller". Daily Mail. London, UK. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "S Club reach for the top". BBC News. BBC. 18 June 2000. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Catherine Applefeld Olson (18 May 2008). "New shows in the works from "Idol" creator". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "The scribbled note that changed TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- "Clash of the Simons: Fuller and Cowell are gearing up to go head-to-head in the biggest battle of egos TV has ever seen". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 May 2012
- "Will Young's 'Evergreen' revealed as biggest selling single of 21st century". NME. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Stephen M. Silverman (18 October 2002). "'American Idol' Judges Set to Return". People. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- 'American Idol': Record 122 Million Votes Cast Following Final Performance Show The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 August 2011
- 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
- Clarke, Stewart (18 October 2017). "Facebook Orders Online Teen Drama 'Skam'". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- Schwindt, Oriana (9 December 2016). "Simon Fuller to Bring 'Shame' to American, Canadian Audiences". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "#PopGroup: Simon Fuller talks 'Now United' and his search inside Mumbai! | Urban Asian". Urban Asian. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Sem glamour de reality, dono da franquia "Idol" busca estrela pop no Brasil" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- “Serengeti on BBC One: New nature documentary from Simon Fuller is a dramatic savannah soap”, London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 October 2019
- Goldsmith, Harvey; Membery, York (31 March 2012). "Simon Fuller to Bernie Ecclestone: Ten of the greatest British entrepreneurs". Daily Mail. London, UK.
- Singh, Anita (11 August 2008). "Forgotten pop star Cathy Dennis scores Transatlantic number one as songwriter". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
- Domenic Pride (12 June 1999). "19 Records' 21st Century Girls". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- Jim Armitae (18 March 2005). "Pop svengali's £100m windfall". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "Spice Girls collection mission for Liz West". BBC News. London. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "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.
- Andreeva, Nellie. (13 June 2011) "'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Launches Joint Venture With Chris Blackwell", Deadline.com; retrieved on 22 May 2014.
- "Abba reunion on the cards thanks to Simon Fuller". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
- 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.
- David Beckham H&M Underwear Range & Naked Photoshoot (Vogue.com UK). Vogue.co.uk (4 April 2012); retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Simon Fuller to brand it like Beckham in Hong Kong tie-up, bloomberg.com, 3 December 2014; accessed 31 July 2015.
- wwd.com 16 September 2016;
- “David Beckham Reportedly Buys Stake In His Company At $150 Million Valuation”. Forbes. Retrieved 8 October 2019
- " 12M BARCA DITCH `GREEDY` MACCA Retrieved 6 February 2011
- Andy Murray banks on yoga and Simon Fuller ahead of Australian Open final, The Daily Telegraph; retrieved 8 June 2012.
- Lewis Hamilton joins Simon Fuller management company, BBC.co.uk; retrieved 11 April 2012
- Lewis Hamilton wins Lewis Hamilton 2014 F1 World Championship, theguardian.com, 25 July 2014; accessed 31 July 2015.
- "Lewis Hamilton to leave management company XIX Entertainment". theguardian.com. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- David Beckham reveals purchase of MLS Miami franchise, EspnFc.com, 5 February 2014; retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Resource Item Archived 26 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Diageo.com, 8 April 2014; retrieved 22 May 2014.
- McMahon, Bobby. "Miami's Day Finally Comes For David Beckham, Partners And Fans As MLS Names 25th Team". Forbes. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Joining Forces: Historic Alliance Builds Largest Network of American UN Supporters". United Nations Foundation. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Simon Fuller awarded an honorary degree by the University of Sussex, bbc.co.uk; accessed 31 July 2015.
- "Simon Fuller to receive Entrepreneur of the Year Award in L.A next month". Music Business Worldwide. 16 March 2016.
- "Emmys: 'American Idol' Tapped for 2016 Governors Award". hollywoodreporter.com.
- "Simon Fuller receives Brighton University honorary degree". BBC News. 31 July 2014.
- Rose, Lacey (28 August 2007). "In Pictures: The Trendsetters". Forbes. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Impresario Simon Fuller shows off talent with $75m performance", timesonline.co.uk, 4 March 2009
- "The 20 most powerful celebrity makers", The Observer Magazine, 22 June 2008
- Music Week "Simon Fuller tops Music Week Top 50 most influential people in UK music industry chart", musicweek.com, 15 July 2003
- "The Star Maker", telegraph.co.uk, 28 September 2002
- "Pop Idol scores a $1bn hit in US market", guardian.co.uk 7 September 2007