Although the $8 million lawsuit never mentions Steven Tyler by name, it refers Tyler as “The Artist” in a suit between his former management company, Kovac Media Group, and his current lawyer, Dina LaPolt.
Kovac alleges that LaPolt botched the contract negotiations for the music superstar to return to “American Idol,” which has costed the artist between $6 to $8 million.
“In 2011, the Artist’s contract on the popular television show ‘American Idol’ was up for renegotiation. TSE and LaPolt were responsible for renegotiating the contract. At the time, the Artist’s popularity and media appeal were at their peak. As a result of the Artist’s stature, the show’s ratings were soaring and the producers of the show wanted to do everything possible to make sure the Artists stayed on as a ‘judge.’ Knowing that the Artist was a hot commodity to the show, TSE wanted to employ an aggressive strategy in the renegotiations and leverage Artist’s popularity to get a more lucrative contract for him. TSE wanted the new contract to be in line with what other personalities were earning on the show. TSE sought to obtain a contract that would have earned $6-$8 million more annually than the Artist’s contract at the time,” the 19-page suit reads.
Tyler’s fellow judge Jennifer Lopez earned a reported $15 million to appear on the show, and left after being denied a $17 million paycheck to stay on another season.
The suit continues about the salary negotiations, saying, “LaPolt undercut [Kovac] TSE’s strategy to leverage the Artist’s popularity for a more lucrative deal. She told American Idol’s agent that Kovac ‘overplayed his hand with his aggressive behavior’ and that American Idol could get the Artist for cheap, thereby undermining and negating Kovac’s/the Artist’s position in the negotiations.”
The suit also alleges that LaPolt then convinced Tyler to fire his former managers and cut Kovac/TSE out of their commission from an “Idol” severance payment.
In addition to the $8 million, Kovac/TSE are also seeking interest, punitive and exemplary damages, legal fees and other costs. The plaintiffs have requested a five-day jury trial.
Tyler and fellow former judge Jennifer Lopez were replaced by Mariah Carey, Nicki Manaj and Keith Urban for the upcoming season of “American Idol.”