Simon Cowell Will Leave 'American Idol'
January 12, 2010 at 4:58 AM (PT)
It's official -- SIMON COWELL plans to leave "American Idol" after the current season. The 50-year-old COWELL said he was "offered a lot of money," to remain a judge on Idol, which has been a mega-hit for the FOX NETWORK. But COWELL said he had decided to leave because "THE X FACTOR," another singing competition that has taken off in BRITAIN, is set to debut -- also on FOX -- in 2011."
COWELL is set to serve as executive producer and judge on the U.S. version of "The X Factor," the network said. COWELL hasn't been an executive producer for "Idol" and the additional title suggested he may reap bigger financial gains with "The X Factor" if the show is a hit in the U.S., as it has been in other parts of the world.
FOX has not named a replacement for COWELL.
"American Idol" has been the most-watched series on television for five consecutive seasons, and will enter this year with new judge ELLEN DEGENERES. CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 KIIS/LOS ANGELES and syndicated star RYAN SEACREST remains the shows host.