'American Idol': How Much Money Do the Judges Make?

Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are bringing in a good amount of money for their work on American Idol. With the Season 18 premiere set to kick off on Sunday night with a two-hour special on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET, the trio of judges will be making their third run together. Over the first two years since the series was revived by ABC, Perry, Bryan and Richie have ushered in a new wave of talent headlined by the past two winners, Maddie Poppe and Laine Hardy.

The three are set to embark on another journey to crown a new winner, all while working on new deals. After ongoing talks, their contracts were renewed in August; however, their exact financial numbers were not revealed.

Assuming the judges didn't see a decrease in their salary as the reality show remains one of the most-viewed shows on television, the basis for their new deal likely built upon their previous paychecks over the first two seasons.

The Wall Street Journal revealed that the trio combined to make $59 million. Between the three of them, Perry took home the most with a whopping $25 million. Bryan, and the show's host Ryan Seacrest, each took in $12 million, leaving Richie with $10 million. It's unclear as to what the new deals look like and if Richie was able to bargain his way to a more even playing field pay with his peers.

After inking the team to a new deal, which didn't include Seacrest at the time but did include mentor Bobby Bones, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke shared a statement about welcoming back the group.

"American Idol is the original music competition series," the statement began. "It was the first of its kind to take everyday singers and catapult them into superstardom, launching the careers of so many amazing artists. We couldn't be more excited for Katy, Luke, Lionel and Bobby to continue in their roles as American Idol searches for the next great music star, with more live episodes and exciting, new creative elements coming this season."

The series will kick off its 18th season on Sunday. The show's first 15 seasons were aired on FOX. The final season on their previous network aired in 2016 before being picked up by ABC with Season 16 debuting in 2018.


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