Fox Prepares To Continue ‘American Idol’ Without Simon Cowell

Idolator Staff | December 24, 2009 12:00 pm

We’re about to find out whether Simon Cowell’s ego is justified. The Fox TV network is close to extending its deal with 19 Entertainment and Fremantle Media to keep American Idol on the air through 2014 — with or without the snide British judge who helped start it all. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

It sounds like Fox is still committed to the show — despite the loss of original judge Paula Abdul and the potential departure of Cowell, who is eager to bring his own British singing competition show, The X Factor, to America. Cowell’s own brother Tony claimed earlier this week on his podcast that Simon will be taking his leave of Idol at the end of 2010. (The X Factor would also air on Fox.)

This is without a doubt the moment Fox’s competitors in the TV business have been waiting for. As The Hollywood Reporter noted: “The move could have a double impact on Idol — the loss of a crucial on-air personality, and the addition of another music competition program on Fox that may result in fewer viewers watching Idol.”

One potential compromise under consideration is to have Simon remain on Idol in 2011, but in a smaller role, perhaps judging only on the Hollywood rounds and not during the early auditions. How will this all shake out? We have no idea, but we wonder if this will be remembered as the day Idol itself started that long, Daniel Powter-soundtracked march toward the exit.