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Simon Cowell clarifies potential 'American Idol' departure comments


By John Bracchitta, 04/14/2009 

Simon Cowell has clarified his recent British interview comments that he may leave American Idol after next year's 2010 season due to his other obligations to his The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent U.K. reality competitions.

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"I have a great attachment to American Idol, but with all the other shows I'm juggling, at some point, a decision has to be made," Cowell said in a written statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Monday. "Right now, the only certainty is that I'm still on Idol, still love doing it and still have a year under contract. So, while I'm looking at all options for the future, I haven't made any decisions."

Cowell's statement comes after he openly speculated he might leave his American Idol judging role after the five-season agreement he signed with Fox in November 2005 expires following next year's ninth season of the show.

"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 told the U.K.'s The Daily Mirror newspaper in an interview conducted before Britain's Got Talent's new season premiered overseas on Saturday night.

"I can't imagine not doing Britain's Got Talent and I can't imagine not doing [The] 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," Cowell told The Daily Mirror in a negotiation tactic-sounding statement. 

While the 2005 deal between Cowell and Fox leaves the door open for him to return for Idol's tenth season if he so chooses, the sharp-tongued British judge previously revealed possible plans to end his Idol run.

"There comes a point where you've got to move on... You've got to say when you're time is up," Cowell told Extra following Idol's Spring 2007 sixth season.

Last December, Cowell also stated that he was confident the Fox reality series could go on without him if needed.

"It could still continue without me.  I've always believed that," he told reporters at the time. 

"This show is successful all over the world and I'm only on American Idol.  I'll make a decision next year as to what I do as an on-screen judge because there is a big, big schedule now and I do two other shows, so it's been hard.  I think that this show could continue for another 10, 20 years, to be honest with you."

Most recently, Cowell hinted that The X Factor -- not Idol -- would be the show he might leave, allowing Cheryl Cole, who replaced Sharon Osbourne after she quit serving as a judge on the show, to take the reigns.

"My hope is that she can carry the show in the future," he told Britain's The Times newspaper last month.

Fox reality chief Mike Darnell recently reiterated his own hopes to sign Cowell to a new deal that will keep him with American Idol for years to come.

"As far as I'm concerned, and as far as Fox is concerned, none of those things change," Darnell told Idol host Ryan Seacrest during a March appearance on his KIIS-FM radio show. "We want Simon to stay as long as he wants to stay and we're currently trying to make a new deal with Paula too."



(Photo credit Fox)


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