19 September, 2019

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Simon Cowell Biography: Daily Mail’s ‘Arrogance’ Lost It Serialisation Rights

By Dan Sabbagh /The Guardian –

The Daily Mail lost the six-figure serialisation battle for Tom Bower’s Simon Cowell biography because the paper believed it was the only realistic buyer of the book, MediaGuardian can reveal.

Instead, the Sun scooped up the rights to extracts for Sweet Revenge: the Intimate Life of Simon Cowell with a bid estimated at about £100,000, in a week-long deal that began on Sunday with the revelation of the music mogul’s brief affair with Dannii Minogue.

Bower’s agent is understood to have offered the Cowell biography, out this weekend, to both the Sun and the Mail titles, in the belief that the two were the only newspapers likely to offer a six-figure sum.

However, the Mail’s offer was significantly lower than the Sun’s – because, a source close to Bower’s agent said, publisher Associated Newspapers was “too arrogant. They believed we could not sell it to the Sun because of the Murdoch connection.”

Cowell’s The X Factor airs on News Corporation’s Fox in the US, and his relationship with the Murdoch broadcaster has been close for years. Cowell’s US breakthrough came via American Idol, another Fox show – and the belief at the Mail as understood by Bower’s negotiators was that it would be difficult for the Sun to publish material critical of him.

One source said that the Bower camp initially demanded £200,000, although it is unlikely that level would have been achieved. Agents for the biographer indicated that final price for the Sun deal was “above” £75,000, and believed to be six figures.

Ironically, former News of the World journalists have revealed that Bower’s revelation of Cowell’s short-lived relationship with Minogue was something they had tried to publish up a couple of years ago.

The story was put forward to Colin Myler, the News of the World editor, who was happy to run it, until, the former journalists said, Cowell rang News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks. The story was dropped after that call.

Bower had no idea about those accounts from the former News of the World journalists until Sunday.

But it is understood that it took some while before Cowell would confirm the truth about the Minogue affair to Bower. The biographer is understood to have asked The X Factor impresario on “four occasions” before he was willing to confirm it.

Sweet Revenge is not an official biography, but the author said he spent about 200 hours with Cowell in offices, on planes and on his yacht.

There was no quote approval, but Cowell did give permission for some people to speak to Bower while other associates were asked not to.

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