Will Simon Cowell Continue On TV With 'X-Factor,' 'Britain's Got Talent'?
The TV judge launches U.S. "X-Factor" on Fox in fall 2011, the same time original flavor airs in U.K.
LONDON -- British audiences can't seem to get enough of the X-Factor, but will that change if the show goes on air without Simon Cowell?
ITV and Simon Cowell Monday announced a new three-year deal for runs of The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent through 2013 -- but it is still not known whether Cowell will even continue with his onscreen presence in the U.K.
The acerbic TV judge -- who has come to be synonymous with the two biggest shows on British television -- is launching the new version of The X-Factor on Fox in the fall of 2011, precisely the period that the British version of the show is on air in the U.K.
ITV sources say Cowell will be "very involved" with all aspects of the British shows, but that they are "still talking" what his precise role will be.
Discussions are being held about whether Cowell could have an occasional presence or whether he could shuttle between both productions in London and LA -- but thus far no firm conclusions have been reached.
Under the new agreement Britain’s Got Talent will return to ITV1 in late-spring 2011, and The X-Factor will be on air in the Fall of 2011.
ITV2 will also continue to broadcast hit shows The Xtra Factor and Britain’s Got More Talent.
Both shows will be produced by Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia, and the deal also gives it ITV rights to the American version of The X-Factor and America’s Got Talent for ITV2.
"I am committed to making sure both shows get bigger and better every year. I have a lot to thank ITV for; they have been key in making The X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent the U.K.'s biggest television shows," said Cowell.
ITV did not reveal commercial terms of the deal, or whether without the guarantee of Cowell onscreen as a core part of the show, it had negotiated the price down.
Peter Fincham, ITV Director of Television, said the shows had become "a national obsession," and that the new deal would cement ITV's successful relationship with Simon Cowell, Syco and FremantleMedia over the longer term.
The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent are the U.K.’s most popular entertainment television programmes on any channel, with 19.3 million tuning in for The X-Factor Final last year and 19.9 million for the Britain’s Got Talent Final earlier this year.