LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Music producer Simon Cowell has signed a deal with ITV that will see the hugely popular “X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent” remain on the channel until 2013, the broadcaster said.
Under the deal, signed with ITV by Cowell’s venture Syco and production company Freemantlemedia, ITV2 will also show the U.S. version of X Factor, which Cowell plans to launch next year, and “America’s Got Talent.” Cowell, 51, has become one of the television industry’s most influential figures through his shows and regular appearances as the acerbic judge best known for his blunt put-downs.
It remains unclear how he will juggle his time between the two countries next year, but reports suggest he may join the British version of X Factor at a later stage in the competition and even fly between Britain and the United States each week.
“I‘m thrilled to conclude this deal with ITV to enable our relationship to continue to develop,” Cowell said in a statement. “I‘m committed to making sure both shows get bigger and better every year.”
Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, added: “The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent are the shows that have helped define the last decade of television in the UK and have become more than just a talking point: they are a national obsession.”
The two shows are among the most-watched on British television, with the final of the X Factor watched by a peak audience of 19.3 million in 2009 and Britain’s Got Talent by 19.9 million.
The value of the deal was not disclosed, although several media reports said it was worth around 100 million pounds ($157 million) plus a further 20 million pounds in appearance fees for Cowell.
His spokeswoman was not available for comment.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison