Simon Cowell's gone from 'American Idol.'

 Soon.

Or after this season, which begins tomorrow.

 Simon Cowell will leave "American Idol" after this season, as SiCo's bro said a couple weeeks ago. He'll host "The X Factor" on Fox.

  Plus: Fox Entertainment boss, Kevin Reilly, just confirmed: Informal talks with Conan. And don't worry. "American Idol" isn't going anywhere. Fox just confirmed the network ordered three more seasons. 

  Simon was at the press tour out there in sunny Pasadena, and here's what he told reporters, as reported by TV Guide: 

  "Idol, even though it's not my show, is still very close to me … I'm very confident it will continue to be the No. 1 show."

  "I have worked on both shows, and I wouldn’t have put X-Factor on if I didn’t think it could exist separately [from Idol]"

  "I was offered a lot of money to stay on ... but i felt like doing something different" [per reporter from Forbes.com].

   Of course, EVERYONE out there at the press tour is asking about Paula as judge, too.

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   "I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity. Because I miss her." [via EW].

  So who will replace the dear boy? Here's what Fox boss Peter Rice said [via Forbes.com]: "we're not going to try to find a Simon clone ... because he's one of a kind." 

 [My editorial aside: I guess that rules out Piers Morgan.]

  Meanwhile...read below: The full press release from Fox re: Simon and "X Factor:"

  Will "Idol" survive without Simon?  Sure. Of course. But it will be diminished, depleted, and truly less interesting. He's by the far the biggest star to ever come out of the show that putatively picks major singing talent and reliably does (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, etc.) I'd call this an "irony" (he certainly doesn't sing) or perhaps "paradox." 

  Meanwhile, here's the ol' wrap in tomorrow's Newsday...

  Simon finally said it: He's going.


 The biggest star on the biggest show in the history of unscripted TV said yesterday he'll leave "American Idol" after this season to launch an American version of his Brit hit, "The X Factor" on Fox next year.


  Ever the showman, Cowell got on a stage before TV writers and critics yesterday in Pasadena and - handed a pen - proceeded to sign his new and outrageously lucrative new contract with Fox. (The REAL contract? Presumably, yes) Cowell - of course - revealed no financial details of the new deal but the one that currently pays the rent grosses him (per at least one estimate) $50 million per year.

  "I was offered a lot of money to stay on," he said yesterday, "but I felt like doing something different." In this case, that involves a show that he owns outright along with FremantleMedia and which is an enormous hit in the U.K..

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 Like "Idol," "Factor" employs a panel of judges, and Cowell was instantly hit with questions about Paula Abdul's availability (TMZ reported yesterday that both have held discussions.) "I adore Paula," he said. "Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity because I miss her."


  Announcement of the departure had been expected for weeks, and Fox cleverly set up the timing for the press tour to maximize publicity for "X Factor" which - even with Simon aboard - isn't totally a lock for "Idol"-sized success (nothing is.) One of Cowell's brothers, Tony, even told listeners of his radio show before the holidays that Simon would join "Factor," and that it would also air on Fox.


  Now, with the news official, let the questions roll in. No, Fox offered no specifics on timing, but a September, 2011, launch is likely, which likely means the first edition wraps before the 11th season of a Simon-less "Idol" begins.


  And what of the future of "Idol" itself? Fox chief Peter Rice told writers "we're not going to find a clone" of Cowell for "Idol" - which, the network said, agreed to a new three-year deal. But in many peoples' minds, "Idol" is Cowell, so that may be a wise move.


 "I think 'AI' can survive it just will not be the ratings juggernaut it has been," said Brad Adgate, senior v.p. of research for New York advertising media firm, Horizon. "His departure will hasten the decline in viewing that has been happening since Season 5 [and] While 'X Factor' should do well, I don’t know how you can expect a new show in this competitive TV environment to attract the 25 million viewers or so that Idol had been averaging last season."

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>> PHOTOS: Click here to see photos of contestants and guest judges from this season's upcoming 'American Idol' audition rounds

 



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.”

 

About Syco/Simon Cowell

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%.

 

 

-more-

“THE X FACTOR” LAUNCH – Page 2

 

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.