With the the industry abuzz about LA Reid‘s status with Universal Music, yet another spanner has been thrown into the works – courtesy of the New York Daily News.
The publication reports today that a key point has been omitted from the ‘has he/ hasn’t he been sacked’ debate; the fact that the Island Def Jam head has been in negotiations for a position on the judging panel of the X Factor US.
Why is this a problem for his role at Universal, you may ask?
Find out after the jump…
Via NY Daily News:
Wednesday, the music giant’s publicity machine beat back blog reports that Reid had been fired from his job as chairman of Island Def Jam Records, and we hear the speculation was tied to Reid’s discussions with producers of both “American Idol” and “The X Factor” about becoming a judge on one of the shows.
A source close to the situation says that if “X Factor,” which is now produced by rival Sony, makes Reid a firm offer, he’ll have to leave Universal to take it.
Initially, music industry insiders told us that Reid’s desire for a TV closeup had angered other Universal executives because of Island Def Jam’s recent poor performance. As critics are happy to point out, Reid lost Jay-Z to Warner Music Group last year, Mariah Carey’s most recent album tanked, and Rihanna’s latest release underwhelmed.
Those execs, we’re told, couldn’t understand why Reid should be allowed to moonlight on TV – for the competition, no less – when his day job isn’t going well.
But our source close to the scene says, “There’s no plan to fire Reid or move him out of Universal Music Group.” Indeed, the source says, it was the company’s new CEO, Lucian Grainge, who suggested that Reid might be a good fit as an “Idol” judge now that UMG has become the series’ music partner.
Since then, the source says, Reid has had talks with the producers of “American Idol” about being that show’s fourth judge – though it’s unlikely such a post will materialize. (The show Wednesday named Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as judges, and also announced that UMG-owned Interscope starmaker Jimmy Iovine will work as a mentor to “Idol” contestants.)
After Reid talked to “American Idol,” the source tells us, Simon Cowell, who departed the show to launch a U.S. version of “The X Factor,” also spoke to Reid about becoming a judge.
At this point, Reid does not appear to have a firm offer from either show. But our source says the Island Def Jam chairman would not be able to take “The X Factor” gig and remain with Universal.
Should that happen, Reid would be leaving of his own accord and not with Grainge’s footprint on the seat of his pants.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be what Reid wants to do,” the source says.
A spokesman for Reid referred to a UMG corporate spokesman, who declined to comment.
The plot most certainly thickens. With talk now also of The-Dream being given his marching orders, it sure will be interesting to see how things play out over at Def Jam.