Going Yearly Rate For Pissy, Dream-Snuffing Superstars: $144 Million

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As the American Idol machinery flickers back to life, pulling its talent-search circus from town to town in a billion-dollar quest for the next global music phenomenon, its single most essential ingredient -- the catty and callous judge Simon Cowell -- has yet to renew his contract.

A TV producer and recording industry executive with a net worth said to be upwards of $200 million, Cowell joined forces this year with British billionaire Sir Philip Green (owner of Marks & Spencer, Top Shop and many other U.K. retail chains) to launch a "global entertainment company that will create and own television content on both sides of the Atlantic," The Guardian reports. Green has also been Cowell's negotiator in his Idol talks, for which a source close to collaborator-turned-litigious-rival Simon Fuller claims he's been offered "three to four times the $36m he was paid for American Idol in 2008." Also on the verge of expiring is his three-year deal with Britain's ITV, which produced X-Factor and Susan Boyle-unraveling talent showcase Britain's Got Talent.

The astronomical numbers certainly cast Cowell's general air of "anywhere but here" twat-iness in a new light, breaking his services down thusly:

· $10.1 million per sheer, manboob-maximizing black sweater

· $8.7 million per thinly veiled jab at Ryan Seacrest's homosexual/pedophilic/cross-dressing tendencies

· $2.2 million per whispered attempt at inducing televised Paula Abdul schizophrenic breakdown

· $725,000 per exasperated sigh

· $1250 per metaphor involving the words "karaoke," "cruise ship," "cat," "dreadful," or "ungodly"

· $1.75 per deflected audience jeer

· Can Cowell back a global winner? [Guardian]



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