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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television entrepreneur Simon Cowell says he's learned one lesson from the U.S. launch of his TV show "The X Factor". To keep his big mouth shut.
That means he is not commenting on speculation that music stars such as Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie might become judges when the revamped TV singing show returns to Fox television in September.
Nor is Cowell falling into his own trap again and planning on forecasting the size of the TV audience for the second season -- except to say it will be bigger than last year's 13 million average viewers, which was far below his pre-season boasts.
"I shot my big mouth off as usual," the acid-tongued Briton told reporters in conference call on Wednesday, referring to his forecast that "X Factor" would draw 20 million viewers, and topple "American Idol" as the most-watched show on U.S. TV.
It didn't come close, and last month Cowell fired judges Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones in a major shake-up.
"I was coming off a massive year in the UK, where (the British version of 'X Factor') had gone over 20 million and then quickly realized I should have kept my mouth shut," he said.
"I absolutely expect the second season to do better than the first ... I learned a lot from last year. I genuinely learned a lot, and I think we have learned how we can make the show better."
Cowell said he could not comment on any of the names that have surfaced in recent weeks as possible new judges.
"There is a load of speculation, some true, some not true. We will meet a number of people over the next few weeks ... I have learned a big lesson -- keep your mouth shut," he said.
Cowell did say that he wants to have two hosts next season -- a man and a woman -- saying that running a live TV show was too much for one person to handle alone and that two hosts would be more fun.
Nationwide auditions for the second season of "X Factor" and a $5 million recording contract start in Kansas City on March 14. Auditions before the new panel of judges however are not expected to start for another two months.
Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte