Simon Cowell leaves "Idol" to launch own show

Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:47pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell said on Monday he was quitting the top-rated Fox TV show in May to launch his own singing contest next year.

The acerbic Cowell, one of the most powerful entrepreneurs in reality TV, confirmed rampant speculation that he was bringing a U.S. version of his British show "The X Factor" to News Corp-owned Fox in the fall of 2011.

Cowell, 50, whose sarcastic quips are arguably one of the biggest factors in "American Idol"s six-year reign as the most-watched TV show in the United States, said he would be both a judge and the executive producer of "The X Factor".

But Cowell told TV reporters at a Fox presentation he was confident that "American Idol" would continue to do well without him when his contract ends in May 2010.

The ninth season of the show starts on Tuesday, with Cowell in place and new judge Ellen DeGeneres joining Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.

Original "Idol" judge Paula Abdul quit last summer in a dispute over the renewal of her contract -- and Cowell hinted

on Monday that Abdul might join him on "The X Factor".

"I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity because I miss her," he said.   Continued...

<p>Simon Cowell looks on before the Bernard Hopkins versus Joe Calzaghe light-heavyweight boxing fight at the Thomas &amp; Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada April 19, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>