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Report: Simon Cowell inking 'X Factor' deal with Fox, may leave 'Idol'


By Reality TV World staff, 12/17/2009 

Simon Cowell is reportedly on the verge of bringing his U.K. The X Factor reality singing competition across the pond.

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The American Idol judge is in the process of finalizing a deal for an American The X Factor edition that would air on Fox, London's The Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

Fox's The X Factor edition would feature Cowell, who created The X Factor and has served as the original British edition's lead judge since it launched in 2004, as its lead judge and begin filming in Los Angeles in September 2011, according to The Times.

Fox programming chief Peter Rice reportedly flew to London to participate in the negotiations with Cowell and his business partner Sir Philip Green six weeks ago.  During their meetings, Cowell -- who is also reportedly finalizing a new The X Factor deal with ITV, the British network which broadcasts the show's U.K. edition as well as his Britain's Got Talent competition -- also told Rice he is considering leaving American Idol after its tenth edition airs on Fox in early 2011, according to The Times.

While he has insisted it isn't a negotiating ploy, Cowell has spent the last year stating he's unsure whether he'll remain with American Idol once the five-season extension he signed in 2005 expires after the show's ninth season airs on Fox in early 2010.

However the contract -- which has also kept the American Idol judge from appearing on-screen for America's Got Talent or any of his other American projects -- also included an agreement that prevented Cowell from selling the rights to an American adaptation of The X Factor during the contract period.

The X Factor debuted in the U.K. in September 2004 and effectively replaced Pop Idol -- the British series American Idol was based on -- when Cowell left Pop Idol to start The X Factor after Pop Idol's second season aired in 2003.

Cowell began publicly speculating about the possibility of launching The X Factor stateside once his American Idol agreement expires earlier this year but has recently presented the move as inevitable.

"I think the show will go to America. It has to go to America. There has to be an American version of the show," he said during a Monday night interview on BBC's Newsnight program.

"[Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor] both now run in 20, 30, 40 [other] countries... to not make The X Factor in the biggest market in the world would be crazy."

In addition, Cowell brushed off recent reports -- which had been sparked by comments Philip had made in a recent British magazine interview -- that the pair were planning to launch a U.S.-based The X Factor edition that would film in Las Vegas and be available for global viewing via pay-per-view on the Internet.

"It's not going to be in Las Vegas. It was discussed as a possible venue for the show -- whether we put it in L.A. or Las Vegas," he said on Newsnight. "But the guys who produce the show want it to be in Los Angeles, so it will be in Los Angeles."

Cowell's Fox agreement to bring The X Factor to the U.S. is expected to be signed early next year, according to The Times, which added Fox, Cowell and Green all declined comment.

Should it be finalized, Cowell would likely be working with many of the same behind-the-scenes parties that are involved with American Idol.

The X Factor's U.K. launch later sparked a lawsuit in which Idol creator Simon Fuller and his 19 Entertainment company sued Cowell and Fremantle Media -- 19's Idol production partner which also co-produces The X Factor with Cowell's own SyCo production company -- over the show's similiarities to the Idol concept.

The lawsuit's settlement -- which featured Fuller and 19 receiving a minority interest in The X Factor -- was reportedly also part of the conditions of Cowell's 2005 American Idol extension agreement.

(Photo credit Fox)


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