In a surprise twist, a deal that was characterized just days ago as virtually done has unravelled, leaving music producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald out of the running for the third judge’s position on “American Idol.”
The deal was widely reported by, among others, Deadline.com and Us Weekly. But on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter unearthed conflicts of interest between the music company Gottwald works for and the competing music giant that controls the music on “Idol.”
According to the THR story — here — the conflicts have derailed Gottwald’s candidacy for the third and remaining judging position on the Fox talent show.
Gottwald, 39, is a music-industry titan who has worked with a number of top music stars as the producer of some of their top hits, including Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and others. The THR story points out that he’s under contract to Sony Music, but a rival company — Universal Music Group — “holds the exclusive rights to ‘American Idol’ recordings.”
That means that, if Gottwald was a judge on “Idol,” he’d be responsible for preparing the show’s budding music stars — and the songs they’ll eventually record — for the marketplace, in direct competition with his own company, Sony.
The story says the situation has effectively put the kibosh on the producer’s future as an “Idol” judge. In addition, the story quotes an “insider” who tells THR that Gottwald has also come to the realization recently that “Idol” would take up too much of his time anyway.
So now, it’s back to the drawing board for “Idol.” Where things stand now: Judge Keith Urban is officially on board to return; Jennifer Lopez has reportedly agreed to return as a judge, though this has never been confirmed officially; and outgoing judge Randy Jackson is reportedly negotiating a new mentor’s role on the show. The third judge’s seat is still vacant.
The 13th season of “American Idol” starts in January.