With the TV Critics Press Association Tour underway, there’s plenty of TV news coming out of Los Angeles today. The American Idol-related news is focused mostly on Simon Cowell and his (maybe?) departure from Idol.
FOX and Simon are currently negotiating the terms of an X Factor debut in the fall of 2011. There could be an announcement as early as this week.
The LA Times reports Simon could not be swayed to return to Idol. But MSNBC’s gossip columnist, Courtney Hazlett’s sources report Simon is using AI as a bargaining chip with FOX, and that the deal Simon strikes with FOX could keep him on Idol.
The LA Times Shirley Halperin is also reporting this morning that, at this point, the decision could go either way.
Variety reports that the switch back to the Top 24 came as a result of focus group research. Your average viewer didn’t like the Top 36 format any more than we Idol loonies did…
The FOX show Glee will likely get picked up for a second season this week…
Check out the soundbites, after the Jump…
From the LA Times:
The network and the British television personality, famous on both sides of the Atlantic, have been furiously negotiating for days, and an agreement on the new program, in which Cowell would again be a judge, could be announced as early as this week.
Fox executives vigorously lobbied Cowell, who declined through a spokesperson to comment, to maintain his current role on the show. Network President Peter Rice even flew to London recently to persuade him to stay.
But Cowell, who has been quite vocal about his weariness with “Idol” and desire to pursue “X Factor, ” apparently could not be swayed.
Via Courtney Hazlett MSNBC
With the new season of American Idolâ€ beginning Tuesday, viewers are wondering whether Simon Cowell will be around to deliver his arsenic-laced assessments after this season.
However, sources who know Cowell well say that heâ€™s not really planning on leaving American Idol, â€ heâ€™s just using the possibility as a bargaining chip to help another show along.
Simon isnâ€™t allowed to launch any competitor to â€˜Idolâ€™ while heâ€™s under contract â€” but heâ€™s necessary to the show, â€ said another source close to Cowell. If push comes to shove, â€˜Idolâ€™ is likely going to try to find any way to keep him onboard, even if that means giving in to the â€˜X Factorâ€™ problem.
Via Shirley Halperin LA Times
However, it is not clear in what capacity, diminished or otherwise, Cowell’s role on “Idol” may change. An insider tells Idol Tracker that Cowell could conceivably judge both shows, if he were so inclined. With that in mind, you could point to any number of examples of “what Simon wants, Simon gets, ” starting with his airtight, smoking allowed office. If Cowell wants to replicate in America what he’s done in Britain, where his mug can be seen on television any and every night of the week, then chances are, a network will bend over backwards to accommodate him. But if Cowell does walk away from “Idol, ” the show will go on, the source insists, for several years to come. “It’s not in jeopardy whatsoever.”
Beckman says the move back to 24 semifinalists came after the network and producers did focus group research.
People felt that there was a middle round they could do without, ” Beckman says. “They weren’t seeing some kids for a few weeks.”
With such a large crop of semifinalists, network execs and producers believed that a few contestants got in there who shouldn’t have — and as a result, conventional wisdom grew that last year’s talent was weaker than it really was.
And then there’s the Adam Lambert factor. Lambert didn’t even win “Idol’s” season eight, but it doesn’t matter. The performer’s controversial antics this fall kept both him and the show in the headlines. Those headlines will pale to the amount of media attention the show will receive once Cowell announces his future plans.
Meanwhile, a “Glee” second-season pickup wouldn’t be much of a surprise — the show has been a fall success story for Fox — but will give show producers an extra early jump on plotting next season’s storylines.
And while insiders said it was still unlikely that Fox would announce “X-Factor” today, a pickup does appear to be imminent.
It’s unclear, however, whether the deal would be tied into Cowell’s “American Idol” duties. Cowell has hinted that he might leave “Idol” after this season.