Recently, American Idol, once one of the most popular shows on American television, crowned a winner for the final time and went off the air. Now, just a couple of weeks later, Fortune Magazine is reporting that the company that owned the show has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Core Media Group, a New York company, owns the production company that made American Idol, as well as other competition shows like So You Think You Can Dance. It also controls the reality show production company behind Man vs. Food and other programs. Core Media is a joint venture between media giant 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm.
As fans know, American Idol was recently cancelled after 15 seasons. It was a pioneer of competition-based reality TV in the U.S., and at its peak in 2007 had more than 37 million viewers. However, more recent ratings did not come close to that peak.
Perhaps due to American Idol's struggles, Core Media is claiming $398 million in debt in its bankruptcy filing. Among its creditors is Simon Fuller, the show's creator. Core Media reportedly owes Fuller nearly $3.4 million, and claims that Fuller demanded payment, leading to the necessity of Chapter 11 protection.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a chance for a business to reorganize in a way that eliminates debt, and puts the business in a good position to succeed long-term. In a statement, Core Media said that it "remains firmly committed to our mission as a global content and management company."