Hollywood rolls out red carpet for Cowell's "X Factor"

Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:24pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There aren't many reality TV shows that stage their own world premiere.

But this is Simon Cowell and his much-hyped new singing contest "The X Factor", which rolled out the red carpet in Hollywood on Wednesday night ahead of his return to U.S. television next week.

A year after walking away from his job as a judge on "American Idol" -- the most watched show on U.S. TV -- the brash Briton has lost none of his self-confidence. His new venture, in which he is both creator and executive producer as well as a judge, is promoted with the simple tagline "He's Back."

"I am feeling excited now. There is always nerves before a launch but it is good nerves...I have always wanted to have, not a film premiere, but a TV premiere in the cinema. I think it is brilliant", Cowell said of Wednesday's splashy event at one of Hollywood's top cinemas.

Americans get their first look at "The X Factor" on September 21. But a pumped-up audience of hundreds of Twitter fans and competition winners from across the United States, were invited to the premiere to see just what the fuss was all about.

"I've never been to a premiere of a TV show where this many people came out," said Mike Darnell, head of reality TV programing at Fox, as Cowell and his fellow judges entered the movie theater to the booming soundtrack of "Live and Let Die."

"X Factor," already a huge hit in the U.K. offers an unprecedented $5 million prize for the winner. Judges compete with each other as mentors to singers and to groups of performers aged 12 and up who audition in arenas packed with thousands of people.


<p>Judge Simon Cowell poses at the world premiere of the television series "The X Factor" at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>