Simon Cowell lashes out over "Voice," "X Factor" showdown

Thu Sep 6, 2012 7:14pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An angry Simon Cowell hit back at NBC on Thursday for a late decision to pit singing contest "The Voice" in direct competition with his revamped "The X Factor" season premiere next week, calling it a mean-spirited spoiling tactic.

NBC fired a new round in the ratings war in the crowded TV talent show market by announcing it would air a third night of "The Voice" next Wednesday - the very night "X Factor" returns to Fox with new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

"It is a spoiling tactic. They (NBC) don't want people to see this first episode. I think it is mean spirited and I hope and I pray it backfires on them because this is one of the best shows we have ever made," Cowell told reporters on a telephone conference call.

"I am pissed off about it, because I think there's a kind of gentleman's agreement (not to go head to head). But we have to rely that the viewers will make the right selection," the sharp-tongued British TV entrepreneur said.

"The Voice," with celebrity musician judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, has been one of the shining lights in struggling NBC's schedule since it made its debut in the spring of 2011.

The network will now air the contest twice a year, starting with a two night premiere scheduled for September 10 and 11. With just four days to go before the start of the new TV season, NBC said "The Voice" will also extend to Wednesday next week.

After a disappointing first season last year that ended with creator Cowell firing two judges and the show's host, "The X Factor" returns on September 12 and 13th.

Reality singing show fans will now have to choose which show to watch on September 12. In another curious juxtaposition, Cowell's "America's Got Talent" hit summer show on NBC will broadcast its two-night finale next week directly opposite "X Factor."   Continued...

Simon Cowell, a judge from the reality series "The X Factor", is pictured on a video screen via satellite from Miami, Florida, during a panel discussion at the Fox television network portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 23, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser