Simon Cowell said his deal with Fox that will end his American Idol judging role while launching his British The X Factor reality competition series for the network in Fall 2011 was a last-minute agreement.

"Last night it wasn't going to happen, then I got a phone call this morning saying it is going to happen. Then when I was driving here with my agent -- Alan Berger -- he got a call saying we may have to go back," Cowell told Extra during a Monday interview.

"It literally was as down to the wire as that."

Cowell claimed "it wasn't just theatrics" when the much-rumored deal was finally formally inked in front of reporters at the Television Critics Association's press tour on Monday.

He also reiterated previous comments that there were conversations about him remaining with American Idol while also working on The X Factor.

"They did try to persuade me a lot," Cowell told Extra.

"Look, I've got a great relationship with Fox. They did want me to stay on the show and I was offered a lot of money to stay on the show. Everyone thought I was posturing to negotiate more money, but that actually wasn't the case. I just felt like doing something new."

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Cowell added one of the main reasons he decided to leave American Idol after its upcoming ninth season was because it had lost a lot of its excitement for him.

"I was talking to [Fox reality chief] Mike Darnell earlier on and he was saying, 'Your favorite season was the first season, wasn't it?' And I went, 'Yeah. I had the best time,'" he told Extra.

"We didn't know what to expect, and actually getting successful is more fun than being successful sometimes. I kind of missed that, not knowing what's going to happen. That's how it feels doing [The X Factor] now, it's exciting."

While he knew he wanted to move on from American Idol, Cowell said that didn't make the move any easier.
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"It did feel a little bit emotional [when I made the announcement] because then it's real and then you remember all the good times you've had -- and I have had a good time," he said.

Cowell -- who was interviewed for Extra by former girlfriend Terri Seymour -- was also asked how fellow Idol originals Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest were taking the news of his departure.

"I heard a lot of popping of champagne corks," he said with a laugh. "There will be a firework display outside [Seacrest's] home tonight."

In addition, Cowell was asked if Seacrest would have any interest in serving as a judge.

"I think he actually would," he replied. "I genuinely think that if he could get off that stage quick enough to go into the judge's chair, he would [host] and judge."

While he won't be anchoring the judging panel after the ninth season, Cowell said he thinks American Idol survive without him.

"It will just be a different type of show," he said.