Cheryl Cole Out as 'X Factor' Judge
She will be replaced by former Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally recruited as co-host alongside Steve Jones.
According to TMZ, producers were worried that Cole's British accent was too thick for U.S. audiences but want her to return to the U.K. version.
The news means that Scherzinger would join Cowell, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Paula Abdul on the judging panel.
Reps for Fox and Cowell did not respond to requests for comment.
This isn't the first report of drama on the new Fox show, which debuts in September.
Abdul was still negotating her deal until the final moments before auditions started.
One issue, according to sources, was an option that CBS had on Abdul based on a deal for her to participate in the short-lived CBS competition show Live to Dance. That deal, according to two sources close to X Factor, contained language that could have prevented Abdul from joining the new show.
Last-minute deal-making also is not entirely new to Cowell. He didn’t decide to leave American Idol after its ninth season until just before a planned Television Critics Assn panel.
"We agreed to the deal at half past eleven this morning,” he said last January. “It literally was as down to the wire as that."