June 6, 2011 / 12:21 PM / 6 years ago

Cowell still in talks over U.S. "X Factor" judges

<p>Producer and television star Simon Cowell arrives at the 38th International Emmy Awards in New York City November 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - British music and TV mogul Simon Cowell has been pushing for Cheryl Cole to be chosen as a judge on the upcoming U.S. launch of talent show “The X Factor,” despite reports she had been ditched, his publicist said.

Cowell’s spokesman Max Clifford told Sky News that talks were ongoing between Cowell, Fox television which will air the show and FremantleMedia, which is producing it along with Cowell’s Syco Television.

“He wants her on the show, he put her forward,” Clifford said on Sunday in televised remarks. He was not immediately available for further comment on Monday.

“Now people at Fox, people at Fremantle that are obviously a hugely important part of this triangle, are not so sure. So there’s discussions going on, negotiations going on.”

Last month it was widely reported that Cole, who rose to fame as a member of British girl band Girls Aloud, had been dropped as a judge on the new show just days after being hired.

The move was attributed by some news sites to Cole’s northern English accent which producers feared U.S. audiences would struggle to understand, while others said she had failed to hit it off with fellow judge Paula Abdul.

Representatives for Cole, 27, and the show’s producers have declined to comment on the reports despite persistent press speculation about what was happening behind the scenes.

“We have no comment to make about Cheryl Cole,” her London representatives said on Monday.

Cole’s own website was last updated on May 6 when it was announced that she would be joining the U.S. show, and on Monday she still appeared on Fox’s website as one of the judges alongside Cowell, Abdul and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

The X Factor is a big title in Britain, where it commands large audiences and is a major earner for broadcaster ITV. Cole raised her profile by appearing on the television singing show, although she is not on the 2011 judging panel in Britain.

In the potentially much bigger U.S. market there is much at stake, particularly for Cowell who faces competition from similar formats like “The Sing-Off,” “American Idol” and his own “America’s Got Talent.”

British media have branded the ongoing uncertainty over Cole’s participation as “farcical.”

Some said Cole was still undecided over whether she should join the U.S. version of The X Factor after the humiliation of reportedly being dropped. Time was running out, they added, with the next auditions due to begin in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Other commentators pondered whether the row was in fact an elaborate PR stunt to raise the profile of The X Factor and Cole, who is little known in the United States.

“The U.S. TV market is a lot bigger and more chaotic than in the UK,” wrote Los Angeles Times television writer Scott Collins in a blog over the weekend.

“And there’s a risk that Americans might be turned off by a show that looks like a big, over-orchestrated media con before it even premieres.”

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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