Simon Cowell has revealed that he was once thrown out of a meeting with a US TV exec after pitching the format for Pop Idol, his first reality series.
Encouraged by the overseas success of The X Factor, Cowell said Sunday on Oprah Presents Master Class that he and his former business partners, Simon Fuller and Simon Jones, met with an unnamed network years ago.
“It was so bad that a minute into the pitch the guy said, ‘No….'” he recalled. “He said you can leave now, and I said, ‘So it sounds to me that you don’t like the show?’ And he said, ‘Get out.’ And I said, ‘So should we come back next week?’ And he said, ‘Get out.’
“We were basically thrown out of the network,” Cowell said. “The good news is, it would never get worse than this.”
Fox went on to premiere Idol in 2002. Cowell stepped down from the show last year to focus on a U.S. version of The X-Factor (interestingly, the season 10 premiere, the first one without Cowell, dropped 13 percent from the 29.9 million people who watched last year’s season debut).
Cowell also got candid on his career, admitting his biggest failures (notably signing a failed girl group 12 years ago) have come when he has believed his own “hype.”
“You start living in this bubble, which is your world, and you start to believe that that’s the only world that exists,” he said. “Which is why most successful people screw it up for themselves normally within two, three,
five, ten years. They stop listening. The biggest failures I’ve had were at a time when I believed my own hype.”