This season will be the last for a controversial judge on Fox's reality juggernaut. The Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed blog is reporting that Simon Cowell will leave American Idol after this new upcoming season, it was announced at today's TCA panel.
"In my opinion it's like having a good player on a good football team," Cowell told the critics. "But when the player retires the team will continue to be very successful. I'm confident Idol will continue to be the No. 1 show. I want to leave 'Idol' this year bigger and better than it's been before."
Cowell is leaving to focus his efforts on his new series, The X Factor, an American version of his already-popular British TV series. The X Factor will debut in the fall of 2011 on Fox. It was said that the format of the show would be close to the U.K. version and Cowell will act as both a judge on the show and the executive producer.
Here's the press release Fox issued for The X Factor below.
FOX announced today that The X Factor will launch in the U.S. in the fall of 2011. 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, which will be produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America.
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."