Simon Cowell to judge "X Factor", offers $5 million prize

Mon Feb 7, 2011 4:57pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Simon Cowell said on Monday he would return to U.S. television as a judge on his upcoming "The X Factor" talent show -- where the winner will get a history-making $5 million dollar prize.

Cowell said he would be appearing as a judge on the U.S. version of the show when it starts on Fox in the fall of 2011, but declined to reveal the names of the other judges.

"Yes, I am," Cowell told reporters on a conference call about his plans to take a judging role on "The X Factor".

"People know what to expect when I am on the judging panels, so I don't think things are going to change," added the acerbic Briton, who found fame for his cutting remarks on singing contests "American Idol".

Cowell said the $5 million prize for the winner would be the "largest guaranteed prize in television history" and was intended to encourage singers and groups of all ages to audition.

The winner will sign a record deal with Cowell's company Syco in a joint venture with Sony Music. Costs of recording and marketing will be separate.

"This is a guaranteed $5 million, payable to the winner. It will be paid $1 million each year for five years.

"It is a massive, massive risk but it is also an incredible incentive. It puts everybody under an enormous amount of pressure. With pressure, you have got to find a star, but I believe I can find a star," Cowell said.

Cowell, who will also executive produce the format he created in Britain in 2004, said auditions would start in Los in Los Angeles on March 27 before moving on to Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York, New Jersey and Seattle.   Continued...