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Report: Simon Cowell to stop judging his U.K. 'The X Factor' series


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/25/2009 

Simon Cowell has reportedly decided which of his three reality competition's will be cut from his hectic schedule -- and it apparently isn't American Idol.

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Cowell has decided that the upcoming sixth season of the U.K.'s The X Factor reality series, which he also created and produces, will be the last installment on which he serves as a judge, Britain's The Mirror newspaper reported Thursday.

"He has found X Factor increasingly draining and it leaves him little time for serious business," a close friend told The Mirror.  "Now he's decided this will be his last series and he's moving on. In future, he will have a more overseeing role."

Cowell created The X Factor and has served as a judge on the series since it premiered in September 2004.  The 20 million pound deal Cowell has with ITV -- the U.K. network that airs the series -- ends in December after the show's sixth season concludes its broadcast run.

In April, Cowell hinted that he might leave his stint as an Idol judge after the five-season agreement he signed with Fox in November 2005 expires following the show's ninth installment next spring -- citing his busy schedule with Idol, Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor as the reason for the decision.

"Most people do one show a year and I do three. It just so happens that one is in America and two are in England and they do involve a lot of traveling.  One may have to go. I don't know how to decide which one. That is the problem, I like all of them," Cowell had told The Mirror at the time. 

"I can't imagine not doing Britain's Got Talent and I can't imagine not doing X Factor. But I guess America is more likely to go because I have got one year under contract. Maybe that will be the end."

However Cowell is reportedly joining forces with British retail billionaire Sir Philip Green to form a new global entertainment company geared towards creating television content in the U.S. and U.K..

The joint venture between Green and Cowell will reportedly serve as a holding company for all of Cowell's entertainment interests, including The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, America's Got Talent and new programming devised or produced by Cowell.

ITV could be one of the first "targets" that Cowell and Green set their sights on, according to The Mirror.

"This is a very big play by two colorful individuals," an industry source told The Mirror.  "They are already a fearsome pair individually. Put them together and that's a tough room.  Simon is very ambitious and is the creative force. Sir Philip is the one who will bang the table and get the deals done."

Not surprisingly, The Mirror reported that ITV executives are "desperately hoping" to retain Cowell's services, while he would like to hand The X Factor judging reigns over to his three fellow judges on the show -- Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh.

Green is also assisting in Cowell's current Idol contract negotiations with Fox and Idol's 19 Entertainment production company to renew Cowell's contract in a deal that is "likely to surpass even Oprah Winfrey's estimated earnings," The Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the negotiations.

(Photo credit Fox)


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