Simon Cowell to leave Idol, launch US X Factor


The rumors have turned to fact. As “American Idol” begins its new season Tuesday (1/12), Simon Cowell has made it official that it will be his last as an Idol judge. But Fox isn’t letting him get away and has won the bidding for the US version of “The X Factor.”

Cowell, who created and launched X Factor in the UK in 2004, will serve as both executive producer and judge on the US version, which will be produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America.
“I’m thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the US version of The X Factor, and delighted to be continuing to work with Fox, We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this,” said Cowell. We note that he failed to mention that he also has a relationship with NBC, which airs his other show, “America’s Got Talent.”

X Factor will launch in the Fall of 2011 on Fox. If things go as hoped, Fox will have a one-two punch in reality competition TV programming – X Factor in the Fall and Idol at mid-season.

RBR-TVBR observation: As we noted previously, this is not without risk. “Pop Idol” (the original) and X Factor never aired in the same year in Britain. The American audience might distain X Factor as just a knock-off of Idol, even with Cowell as a judge.