Blake Shelton helped Luke Bryan with American Idol negotiations

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2016 file photo, Blake Shelton performs on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Shelton offered free concert tickets on Dec. 8, 2016, to a fan who posted on his Facebook page and told him that he couldn't make it to a Shelton show in October because he got in a motorcycle accident. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Luke Bryan inked his lucrative deal with American Idol thanks to a little help from his good friend Blake Shelton. Blake used his years of experience as a mentor on NBC’s The Voice to help Luke navigate negotiations with ABC before signing on to be one of the three judges on the network’s reboot of American Idol.

Blake tells us exclusively: [“I actually spoke to him for months about, you know, he was gonna be a judge on American Idol and he was in talks with them and I kept giving him ideas about how to go back at ’em as far as negotiating cause I know a little bit about this now, and so I’m sure that ABC’s network people, they probably hate my ass over there (laughs), but I’ve been doing it long enough I wanted them to treat him right, you know, so hopefully that all worked out for him.”] SOUNDCUE (:28 OC: . . . out for him.)

American Idol returns to ABC in March with Luke, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry sitting at the judge’s table. Ryan Seacrest returns to host the show.

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