Simon Cowell, Sony sign new TV, music, film deal

Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:50am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Music mogul Simon Cowell has formed a long-term venture with Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment to produce music, television and film, beginning with the U.S. version of hit British show "The X Factor".

The new venture, called Syco after Cowell's record label, will own the existing Syco television and music assets including global TV franchises "The X Factor" and "Got Talent" and star singers like Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle.

According to the Financial Times, which first reported the deal, Sony Music will exchange its 100 percent ownership of Cowell's record label for a 50 percent share of a broader venture.

The announcement follows shortly after Cowell, one of the most powerful figures in television and pop music, said he was quitting the top-rated U.S. Fox TV show "American Idol" to launch "The X Factor" in the United States.

Cowell, 50, whose sardonic comments and exaggerated scowl as a judge on the shows have made him one of the biggest stars on British and U.S. television, has said he would be both a judge and the executive producer of "The X Factor".

"I have had a fantastic relationship with Sony for many years and I'm delighted we are launching this venture together," Cowell said in a statement.

Ged Doherty, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment UK, added: "With the launch of The X Factor in the U.S., we look forward to replicating the unprecedented success the show has had in the UK globally."

The X Factor launches in the United States in autumn 2011.   Continued...

<p>Simon Cowell looks on before the Bernard Hopkins versus Joe Calzaghe light-heavyweight boxing fight at the Thomas &amp; Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 19, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>