Simon Cowell says he's leaving 'Idol'

Television personality Simon Cowell poses on the press line at the Elton John Academy Award viewing and after party in West Hollywood, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

January 11, 2010 1:45:51 PM PST
Simon Cowell says that this will be his last season on "American Idol." The cantankerous judge said that "The X Factor," a show he created and is a hit in Britain, will join Fox's schedule next year. Cowell will be on "The X Factor."

Cowell's decision is the biggest threat yet to what has been the country's most popular TV program and a true cultural force. This season, original host Paula Abdul has been replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.

But Cowell, with his caustic commentary, has long been seen as the big star of "Idol."

Cowell said it would have been difficult for him to do both shows. While he makes a reported $36 million a year to be on "American Idol," he owns "The X Factor" and could make much more if the show takes off.


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