ITV Pushing for Simon Cowell Return to U.K. 'X Factor'
LONDON – U.K. broadcaster ITV is making another push to get Simon Cowell to return as a judge on the U.K. edition of The X Factor as part of negotiations to extend the talent show's run here beyond its upcoming 10th season.
A current three-year contract between ITV, producer Syco, the Cowell joint venture with Sony Music, and co-producer FremantleMedia for talent shows X Factor and Britain's Got Talent expires at the end of the year.
BGT still uses Cowell in a judging role and has continued to bring in strong ratings, leaving industry observers expecting a renewal after its recently finished seventh season.
X Factor's ratings, meanwhile, have also continued to make the show one of ITV's biggest, but they have declined in recent seasons as Cowell has focused on the U.S. version, leading to recurring calls for his return. Last year's season finale drew the lowest ratings for a final episode of the show in Britain since 2006.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that ITV is looking to sign new contracts for both shows, but is pushing Cowell to commit to an X Factor return. If it doesn't manage to get that, the company may offer only a two-year renewal or lower terms, it said.
Cowell earlier this year said that given his various commitments, he can only appear on the U.S. X Factor and one U.K. show.
His spokesman confirmed to the Guardian: "Obviously, everybody to do with the show wants Simon, because he gives it an extra quality … but with his commitments … he simply can't be in two places at once."
ITV, Fremantle and Syco weren't available to comment or declined to comment.