It's "Ex-Factor" for Abdul, Scherzinger, Jones

Wed Feb 1, 2012 3:40pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Simon Cowell gave his talent show "The X Factor" a major shake-up, showing the door to host Steve Jones, judge Nicole Scherzinger, and even his old friend Paula Abdul after a lackluster first season on U.S. television.

Cowell and broadcaster Fox confirmed on Tuesday that British host Jones, and former Pussycat Dolls singer Scherzinger would not be returning for the second season of the show in September.

Abdul -- Cowell's old "American Idol" sparring partner -- was also voted off in what some industry watchers called a bloodbath for the TV show that failed to measure up to its hype last year and struggled to achieve the top-level viewership promised by Cowell.

"Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to The X Factor next season," Abdul said in a statement on Tuesday. "I've learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations. Simon (Cowell) and I, along with Fox and Fremantle, have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation."

Abdul said that Cowell "will remain a dear friend of mine."

Cowell gave "a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of 'The X Factor' last year."

"Now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year," he added in a statement

Fox reality programming chief Mike Darnell called Abdul "a remarkable talent" and said the network appreciated her contributions.   Continued...

<p>Paula Abdul kisses the cheek of Simon Cowell as Nicole Scherzinger reacts 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>