Just Announced: Cowell to Bring 'The X Factor' to FOX in 2011, Departs 'Idol' After this Season
Just confirmed at a Television Critics Association Press Tour is what many have been speculating for weeks: Simon Cowell will depart American Idol after this season and launch The X Factor on Fox for an early 2011 broadcast.
Simon Cowell, who created and launched THE X FACTOR in the U.K. in 2004, will serve as both executive producer and judge on the U.S. version of The X Factor, which will be produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America.
It seems American Idol will go on, as FOX's current deal with American Idol producers, FremantleMedia and 19 Productions, runs through 2011 but a new deal guarantees three additional seasons of the show, with or without Cowell.
Cowell signed his X Factor contract today. Says the talent show master of Idol's future: "I'm confident it will continue to be the No. 1 show."
Fox executive Peter Rice says that the network is committed to both The X Factor and Idol. Additional X Factor judges will be announced shortly.
Speculation on Cowell's exit began in December when Simon Cowell's brother, Tony Cowell, revealed on his weekly The Cowell Factor podcast that Simon would be leaving the show in 2010 to concentrate on other ventures. Said Tony, "A press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everybody expected: Simon will leave Idol at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of The X Factor to U.S. TV in 2011."
The X Factor is currently shown in 17 countries worldwide with a global audience of more than 500 million, and is the No. 1 TV entertainment format in Europe. Cowell will continue to serve as both executive producer and judge on the U.K. version. The X Factor format is owned by Syco, a global music, television and film production joint venture between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment.
"I'm thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the U.S. version of The X Factor, and delighted to be continuing to work with FOX," said Cowell. "We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this."
Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, said, "We have had a very successful relationship with Simon Cowell for many years, and we're absolutely delighted to continue our relationship with him. THE X FACTOR has been a massive success around the world, and we can't wait to bring it to the U.S. in 2011."
"THE X FACTOR has enjoyed an unparalleled success in its U.K. home market and globally," said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America. "We are truly excited to bring it to the U.S. and look forward to building another entertainment franchise in the marketplace."
Syco, with offices in London and Los Angeles, is a global music, television and film production joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment.
Syco Television produces the BAFTA Award-winning "The X Factor," which has topped the charts in Europe and in the U.K., where Cowell continues to serve as both executive producer and judge. Syco Television is also the owner of the "Got Talent" television format. Versions of both "The X Factor" and "Got Talent" are co-produced by Syco and shown in more than 40 countries.
The X Factor 2009 in the U.K. reached audiences of 20 million (60% audience share), and in Denmark, the audience share reached a record high of 80%.
Cowell also executive produces America's Got Talent and judges and produces Britain's Got Talent, which in 2009 launched the global singing career of Susan Boyle. Her debut Syco album sold over 8 million units in six weeks, making it the world's biggest-selling album of 2009 and the fastest-selling album in history.
Syco is also the record label home for such diverse international recording stars as Leona Lewis, Il Divo and Paul Potts. Cowell has worked with artists selling more than 180 million albums and delivering more than 150 No. 1 records.
In 2009, Cowell was named No. 1 in Hollywood Reporter's Top 50 Most Powerful in Reality TV and one of Entertainment Weekly's Top Entertainers of the Year.
FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is the U.S. production division of global media giant FremantleMedia. Based in Burbank, California, FMNA produces entertaining and innovative programs for network, cable, syndicated and online platforms, including the Emmy-nominated musical/reality phenomenon AMERICAN IDOL (FOX), "America's Got Talent" (NBC), "Can You Duet" (CMT), "The Chilli Project" (MTV), "Secret Girlfriend" (Comedy Central), "Let's Make A Deal" (CBS), "Family Feud" (syndicated), and the longest-running game show in television history, "The Price Is Right" (CBS). In the U.K., "The X Factor" is produced by talkbackThames, a division of FremantleMedia, and Syco Television.