Simon Cowell to Remain Judge on 'Britain's Got Talent' Next Year

DOWN: Simon Cowell

His "The X Factor" U.K. edition debuts down more than 2 million viewers with new judge Nicole Scherzinger. Does it portend a soft U.S. bow in September?

The talent show on ITV1 will also bring back hosts Ant & Dec and the other judges.

LONDON -- Simon Cowell will return as a judge for the seventh season of Britain’s Got Talent on ITV1, which has been the highest-rated entertainment show on U.K. TV this year.

The talent competition, which this year was won by trainer and dancing dog Ashleigh & Pudsey, will also bring back hosts Ant & Dec, a British comedy and TV host duo, and the other judges -- stage star Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.
Cowell and Holden have been judges from the start of the show, while singer/dancer/TV star Dixon and comedian and writer Walliams (Little Britain) joined only this year for the sixth season.

The show is a Thames production in association with Cowell's Syco TV and distributed by RTL Group's FremantleMedia.

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"I loved doing the show ... the new panel worked really well, and I’m very happy they have all agreed to come back," Cowell said. "I hope that in 2013, off the back of an amazing year for Britain, we find another global star."

The season finale that crowned Ashleigh & Pudsey the winners in May was watched by a peak audience of 14.5 million viewers. Since then, the duo has performed in front of Queen Elizabeth II, on America’s Got Talent and visited The Jay Leno Show.

Runners-up Jonathan & Charlotte have seen their debut album go gold, while music group Only Boys Aloud recently released their first album.

Said Ant: “You think you've seen it all then a man with a saucepan on his head turns up! We can’t wait to see who or what turns up this time.”
Quipped Dec: “Simon was the happiest I have ever seen him when Ashleigh and Pudsey won! I’m not sure we’ll ever see him as happy again – so that’s the challenge Great Britain, show us what you've got!”
An audition tour for the show starts in January 2013. It will visit five cities, with the London Palladium, famous for variety entertainment, being one stop. The other stops are in Cardiff, Wales; Glasgow, Scotland; Manchester and Birmingham. The show typically airs through May.

Britain’s Got Talent's YouTube channel recently crossed the 1 billion views barrier.

CNN host Piers Morgan was also a judge on the show during its first four seasons.

Twitter: @georgszalai