TCA Press Tour: Simon Cowell confirms he's leaving 'American Idol,' launching U.S. version of 'The X Factor'
As first reported in The Times today, Simon Cowell will leave "American Idol" after this season.
Cowell turned up at today's Fox executive session to confirm that his British hit music talent show "The X Factor" would premiere on the network in fall 2011. And as part of that deal, he would be exiting his judging duties on "Idol."
"There's been a lot of speculation, partly because we didn't have an agreement. We reached an agreement formally at about half past 11 this morning," Cowell said. "What we've agreed is that 'X Factor' will launch in America in 2011 with me judging the show and executive producing. Because of that, this will be my last season on 'American Idol.' " Season 9 premieres Tuesday on Fox.
Cowell added that doing both "Idol" and "X Factor" was a consideration, but deemed it ultimately "impossible."
"We did talk about me staying on both shows, but when we looked at the practicality of that, it's impossible. I've made a commitment to stay on ['The X Factor'] in the U.K., and I didn't think it was right to do two shows in America."
Asked if he thinks "Idol" will survive without him, Cowell said he was positive it would.
"In my opinion, I think it's like having a good player in a good football team ... when the player retires from the team it will continue to be successful. 'Idol' is not my show, but it's very close to me. I genuinely believe this show can last for 10 or 20 years. I'm confident it will continue to be the No. 1, and everyone's committed to keeping it that way."
Fox President Peter Rice added, "We're committed to 'Idol,' as we are to 'X Factor.' Simon is irreplaceable, but it's going to be incumbent on us to make sure it stays strong."
More to come ...
— Denise Martin
Photo: Associated Press