Simon Cowell denies "American Idol" bad blood
By Kim Masters
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Ten years after helping launch "American Idol" into a national pastime, Simon Cowell is again playing the role of underdog.
He's back auditioning talent for a largely unknown singing competition -- although this time, when "The X Factor" premieres on Fox this fall, it will come with immense hype and expectations.
Cowell, 51, spoke with Hollywood Reporter editor at large Kim Masters for a segment on her KCRW radio show, The Business. An edited transcript follows:
TELL ME WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM LAUNCHING IDOL THAT YOU MIGHT BE PUTTING INTO PRACTICE NOW WITH THE X FACTOR?
Simon Cowell: When we launched the show, which was literally 10 years ago, I was doing exactly the same thing. I was talking to people, talking up the show, which nobody knew anything about. This is when we were trying to get people to audition in the first place and praying that it was going to work and that people would like it. But until people actually showed up, we didn't know whether the show was going to work or not. And it's the same principle now. No matter what your ambitions are for one of these shows, it absolutely depends on who the contestants are. If they're all useless and boring, you haven't got a show.
THE EXPECTATIONS FOR "IDOL" WERE NOTHING, AND IT TURNED OUT RATHER WELL. THE EXPECTATIONS FOR "X FACTOR" ARE HIGHER, SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
Cowell: Just keep doing what I'm doing, which is don't believe the hype, assume you've still got to get the message out to people -- maybe those who would normally not enter a show like this. You've got to start from the absolute basics because we haven't filmed a second yet of this new show. I know what it turned into in the U.K. It turned into a really successful, fun show, and I hope the same thing can happen in America.
"IDOL" RATINGS HAVE HELD UP QUITE WELL, AND THE TALENT IS AWFULLY GOOD THIS YEAR. IS IT OVERSTATING IT TO SAY YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT TALENT NOT KNOWING WHAT "X FACTOR" IS AND NOT TURNING OUT THE WAY THEY DO FOR "IDOL" NOW? Continued...