Simon Cowell Will Bow Out of ‘American Idol’

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Wall Street Journal

Simon Cowell, the brusque personality who has been behind TV blockbusters on several continents, plans to leave the Fox network’s singing competition “American Idol” after the current season, leaving a question mark over the biggest hit on American airwaves.

The 50-year-old Mr. Cowell said he was “offered a lot of money” to remain a judge on “American Idol,” which has been a mega-hit for the Fox network. But Mr. Cowell, who parlayed music-producing acumen into television celebrity, said he had decided to leave because “The X Factor,” another singing competition that has taken off in Britain, is set to debut–also on Fox–in 2011.


Mr. Cowell will serve as executive producer and judge on the U.S. version of “The X Factor,” the network said. Mr. Cowell hasn’t been an executive producer for “Idol” and the additional title suggested he may reap bigger financial gains with “The X Factor” if the show is a hit in the U.S., as it has been in other parts of the world.

Based on the British series “Pop Idol,” “American Idol” launched on Fox in 2002 and has become the most popular series on television. More…