Fox is close to signing a deal for more seasons of “American Idol”– with or without Simon Cowell.
FOX’s current contract with 19 and FremantleMedia extends through the end of 2011. The deal that’s being hammered out now includes three seasons of Idol, although that number could still change.
Rumors have been flying that Simon will depart the show at the end of Season 9 to concentrate on bringing his UK competition reality show, XFactor to the States. (listen to Simon’s brother Tony spill the news of Simon’s departure HERE in a recent podcast).
Fox would prefer to extend Simon’s contract with Idol at least another season. One potential compromise would be for Simon to take a smaller role on Idol in 2011–judging the Hollywood rounds, but not the auditions, for instance.
Fox was originally planning X Factor for the fall of 2010, but delays in the Sony deal have pushed to show to an expected 2011 premiere date.
Before anything is finalized, at FOX, Simon still needs to sign his new contract with X Factor owner Sony. Once that’s out of the way, Simon will be free to make a deal with FOX to bring XFactor to the states.
I’m not surprised that Fox is ready and willing to forge ahead without Simon. But, I say dump Simon altogether if he can’t commit, in order to concentrate on finding a full time replacement.
If I were to pick, my vote would go to Dicko from Australian Idol. Like Simon, he’s a straight shooting A&R guy with an accent. Unlike Simon, he LOVES music.
I suspect the person who takes Simon’s place won’t be some anonymous A&R guy from a record label. I’m betting on an A list performer or entertainer along the lines of Ellen Degeneres… But a MEAN Ellen Degeneres. Heh.