E! Online reports that Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol at the end of this upcoming season.

Tony Cowell, Simon's brother, breaks the news on his podcast:

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Meanwhile, Simon prepares for a new season of Idol-or should I say, his last season of Idol. OK, I will. Because it is. As I sit here with my family in the sunny Caribbean, a press statement is being prepared, which will confirm what everyone expected: Simon will leave Idol at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of X Factor to U.S. TV in 2011.

Of course, after replacing Paula Abdul with Kara DioGuardi and recently announcing that Ellen DeGeneres would join-up, we could only expect something of a circus for the upcoming run. It would seem likely that American Idol is headed into obscurity.

I guess we can wait to see if Cowell can catch lightning in a bottle twice and get X Factor off the deck for the US audience to beef up prime time as American Idol lags.