Simon Cowell Eyes Cheryl Cole

Although it is not quite yet a done deal, The Guardian today strongly hints that Simon Cowell is planning to have his UK The X Factor colleague Cheryl Cole (pictured) join him on this side of the Altantic as well. Cowell’s eye for talent has of course generally been impeccable, but even for him, choosing an unknown-to-U.S.-audiences 27-year-old over other rumored TV judge candidates such as Lionel Richie and Jermaine Jackson is a bold move.

If Cole comes on board the Americanized X Factor edition, she will be following in the frequent private jet flier footsteps of not just Cowell but also Dancing with the Stars judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, who travel back and forth each week to appear in UK-U.S. sister programs. Separately, as a testament to the power of Google’s cache, word is that Cole will not be switching back to her maiden name in the wake of a divorce finalized last month.

Cole is expected to keep her married name, amid concerns that it would be easy to Google references to Cheryl Tweedy’s 2003 nightclub assault on a black toilet attendant. While the singer was cleared of racially aggravated assault, there are fears the episode might play badly in the US.

Elsewhere in the piece, an unnamed TV insider trots out the old line of how much Cowell wants to upend arch enemy Simon Fuller’s revamped Idol program. For more on that renewed rivalry, check out last month’s great piece by LA-based Financial Times correspondent Matthew Garrahan.