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L.A. Reid is leaving The X Factor.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the reality TV judge will not be returning to the Fox series for season three. The Epic Records chairman will return to his full-time gig of running the Sony music label, with plans to invest renewed energy and vigor into developing new and signed artists.
“I have the utmost respect for Simon Cowell,” Reid said Thursday. “He is the very best, and I have had the opportunity to learn so much from him. Working with him on X Factor has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m honored to have sat on the panel with such incredible talent.”
Reid was the first judge hired by Cowell for season one last year. He was also the only judge to survive a brutal X Factor bloodbath that saw fellow panelists Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones, fired prior to season two.
After mentoring the boys during season one, Reid was placed in charge of the over-25s for season two. Although he initially was unhappy with the assignment, his mentee Tate Stevens has proved to be one of two front-runners to win the $5 million prize during next week’s finale.
“Of course, I will miss the show,” Reid added. “In my opinion Simon attracts the best talent but I’m looking forward to getting back to my core business and the responsibility of running Epic Records.”
It is not yet known whether current judges Britney Spears or Demi Lovato will remain on board for season three, which already had been given the green light by Fox.
Wednesday’s semifinals episode of X Factor averaged 7.8 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. Overall, the series’ second season is down in the key demo of adults 18-49, dropping nearly 25 percent. This time last year, Live+7 numbers showed X Factor netting 4.6 on Wednesdays and 4.4 on Thursdays (4.5 overall), while the latest have it delivering just a 3.8 on Wednesdays and 3.4 on Thursdays (3.6 overall).
Email: Shirley.Halperin@THR.com; Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com
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