Music executive and television producer Simon Cowell was born and raised in England and has a net worth of $320 million and an annual salary of $75 million. After a smattering of odd jobs in his youth, Simon was given employment by his father, Eric Philip Cowell, an executive at EMI Music Publishing. Initially starting out in the mail room, Simon worked his way up to music publisher before leaving to form his own label, E&S Music, and then onto Fanfare Records where he would gain success with the signing of singer Sinitta. Cowell remained at Fanfare for eight years until its parent company went to BMG, with Cowell eventually following to form S-Records.
Success came from not just music artists but novelty releases based on popular television icons as the time, such as The Wiggles and Mighty Morphine Power Rangers. In 2001, Cowell became a judge on the British television reality show Pop Idol, which in turn spawned a worldwide franchise now seen in over 100 countries. Cowell moved on to judge Pop Idol spin-off American Idol, now in its ninth season, with a salary at $33 million per season since 2006. Cowell uses his newest label, Syco, as a platform to release records from the talent seen on its sister company, Syco TV, which produces television shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent and its subsequent licensed sister show, America's Got Talent. Forbes named Cowell as the top earner in U.S. primetime television, bringing in $75 million between June 2008 and June 2009. 2010 will be Cowell's final year as a host of American Idol, instead he will host his own show The X Factor.