Simon Cowell: X Factor Announcement Could be Soon, Plus Focus Groups Disliked the Top 36

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.

Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sin...
Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sing Irving Berlin!

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 Idol” 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 he’s not really planning on leaving American Idol, ” he’s just using the possibility as a bargaining chip to help another show along.

Simon isn’t allowed to launch any competitor to ‘Idol’ while he’s under contract — but he’s necessary to the show, ” said another source close to Cowell. If push comes to shove, ‘Idol’ is likely going to try to find any way to keep him onboard, even if that means giving in to the ‘X Factor’ 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.”

Via Variety:

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.

via Variety:

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.

About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

24 Comments

  1. So then we would have AI in Jan and X Factor in the fall?

    They should take a look at what happened with SYTYCD being shown twice a year.

    Yeah I know that AI and X Factor are not the EXACT same show…but close enough.

    I guess Simon is planning on getting rid of AI in the states too…with not necessarily a better showl.

  2. To be honest……I am looking forward to seeing Simon go. I have been watching the season 8 reruns on FOx reality and Simon comes off as bored and full of disdain for the show that HE started. If he is that burned out on the process and can’t show more enthusiasm and something a little more than contempt for the contestants then maybe its time he moves on and lets someone else do the job.

  3. The headline to this post is wrong, it should read: “Focus Groups Disliked the Top 36.” Smart focus groups!

    There is absolutely no way Simon could continue to be a judge on both AI and The X-Factor, it’s a direct conflict of interest. Are they going to forbid people to audition for both shows? If not, he would naturally want to snag the most talented contestants for his own show, and would thus be sabotaging Idol. It would never work.

  4. So then we would have AI in Jan and X Factor in the fall?

    They should take a look at what happened with SYTYCD being shown twice a year.

    I also tend to think it’s overkill, and that the two shows will cannibalize each other, BUT don’t The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent co-exist successfully in the UK?

  5. So basically, the focus still won’t be on the contestants. It’ll be on Simon, X Factor, and Ellen.

  6. With such a large crop of semifinalists, network execs and producers believed that a few contestants got in there who shouldn’t have

    Really? How did that happen! Like Tatiana del Toro and Norman Gentle — the joke contestants you sent through? Or the countless girls with good looks and no performance ability who melted down immediately? Or the total cannon fodder like Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray whom the judges hand-picked in the Wild Card Round?

    And you’re just now noticing that massively packing the show with weak contestants to favor a few chosen ones doesn’t actually help?

    Oh producers, how we love to hate you and your sneakiness.

  7. Heh…took me a bit to figure out that the headline should read “Plus Focus Groups Disliked the Top 36

  8. TBH – watching the reruns now, I will actually miss Simon a bit more – he tended to be the voice of reason on the show. When certain contestants were being overly praised by the other three he would bring things back to reality a little bit by saying, it wasn’t the most BRILLIANT performance ever, but it was very good. I liked that “sanity” after the incessant gushing of the other 3.

    I’m also wary of having both X-Factor and Idol on. This has rarely worked in the past – there just isn’t room for two large singing competitions on US TV, I think – the other one always fails.

    That said, I can almost see X-Factor replacing AI, but prob not for a few more years, when the AI audience starts skewing too old and smaller than before. Then there will be more of a need of a shake up, with new rules, younger “Glee-like” gimmicks, etc. – and voila – you have Simon bringing X-Factor to fill the void and basically replace AI.

    Oh, and yes, Top 24 is much better than Top 36 – I hated having the breaks between groups like that (so group 1 didn’t perform again till 3 weeks later – and that might have hurt peeps like Alexis, where we forgot just how good she was by the time Top 13 came around.) Also, more PTB manipulation with the Top 36 – reserving the pimp spots and screen time to the select few they definitely HAD to have go through (Lil, Adam, Danny). I like the more steady build up of Top 24 – getting to see who continually improves, brings it each week, etc.

  9. Really? How did that happen! Like Tatiana del Toro and Norman Gentle — the joke contestants you sent through? Or the countless girls with good looks and no performance ability who melted down immediately? Or the total cannon fodder like Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray whom the judges hand-picked in the Wild Card Round?

    And you’re just now noticing that massively packing the show with weak contestants to favor a few chosen ones doesn’t actually help?

    LOL! Well said :-)

    I will disagree, though, with Jasmine being cannon fodder – I think they loved her a lot as a beautiful, Disney Princess-esque teen sensation – but it became quickly apparent that she couldn’t back it up with the stage presence, confidence, or voice that Allison had. Sorry, only room for one precocious 16 year old! And so, the audience (never loving Jasmine as much as the judges did in the early rounds), said bye-bye early on.

  10. BUT don’t The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent co-exist successfully in the UK?

    BGT is like AGT – not just about the singing (though it tends to dominate) – so the same way AGT and AI work ok together in the US, X-Factor and BGT work ok in the UK.

  11. Simon Cowell seemed a little bored since season 6 while he perked up at times. American IDol is not his baby and likes to move on to the next project. Stay or go it depends on the deal to get X-factor here and yes using Idol as leverage not surprising..Simon staying won’t part of his mind be on X-Factor?I also wonder if this is hot air from him?

  12. Perez reported yesterday that Paula has already signed on to be a judge on X factor, 4.5mil a year

  13. BGT is like AGT – not just about the singing (though it tends to dominate) – so the same way AGT and AI work ok together in the US, X-Factor and BGT work ok in the UK.

    Yes, but I don’t think Amercica’s Got Talent has had much impact in the U.S. I meant that BGT and X-Factor are both hugely successful shows in Britain despite being shown on the same network and having such similar formats. So I do think it’s possible for Fox to pull off the same thing here.

  14. Yes, but I don’t think Amercica’s Got Talent has had much impact in the U.S. I meant that BGT and X-Factor are both hugely successful shows in Britain despite being shown on the same network and having such similar formats. So I do think it’s possible for Fox to pull off the same thing here.

    Well, I think AGT is “successful enough” here (summer show, so it’s not gonna have huge expectations to begin with).

    However, you may have just proved my point before, that two similar shows DON’T tend to do as well in the US, as say, in the UK. Time and time again, networks try to put an AI clone on, and they all fail. AGT is similarly nowhere near as successful as AI. Which is why I think there is only room for one singing competition (again, AGT does “well enough” on its own in the summer to not really be a big point of contention).

    The UK may be different in terms of viewing habits – e.g. – that market has room for two similar shows.

  15. “Perez reported yesterday that Paula has already signed on to be a judge on X factor, 4.5mil a year”

    I can belive it. Simon and Paula are friends. Plus, Paula is a GREAT dancer/choreographer. On X-Factor, the judges can mold their contestants more. They’re more involved. I think Paula will like it better.

  16. I’d love to see Ethan Borian try out again. LOL

    I honestly think Simon told Cheryl to cut him and then told him the reason he was cut is so Simon can have him audtion in America

  17. And you’re just now noticing that massively packing the show with weak contestants to favor a few chosen ones doesn’t actually help?

    Yep, it only took 8 seasons for them to figure that one out.

  18. I agree that two music shows a year would be too much. One of the best decisions Simon ever made was when he put his foot down and insisted on only one Idol a year. It helps the show feel more like an event when it premieres again in January, and keeps away some of the fatigue of overexposure. I disagree with the idea that Xfactor is going to be the show to survive, however. Xfactor is more about gimmicks, and the judges manipulation is insane compared to idol. I think it also would not attract a lot of the serious artists that flock to idol. Idol has street cred, otherwise Adam Lambert or David Cook would never have tried. Xfactor doesn’t have the built up respect yet, so it’s first season would be like the first American Idol, and I think the deficit between the talent of the two shows would be glaring.

  19. I’ll admit I still don’t know that much about X-Factor – what are some of the main differences between it and idol?

  20. I will disagree, though, with Jasmine being cannon fodder – I think they loved her a lot as a beautiful, Disney Princess-esque teen sensation – but it became quickly apparent that she couldn’t back it up with the stage presence, confidence, or voice that Allison had. Sorry, only room for one precocious 16 year old! And so, the audience (never loving Jasmine as much as the judges did in the early rounds), said bye-bye early on.

    That was pretty clear earlier than the finals, though. She bombed “Love Song” and, unlike Matt, she didn’t really make up the difference with “Reflection” (which was received, I’d say, “OK” on the whole of the internet, but still an injustice to be putting her in over Ricky Braddy).

    I’ll admit I still don’t know that much about X-Factor – what are some of the main differences between it and idol?

    Idol with categories (It’s, what, Over 25’s, Boys, Girls, Groups?), more stage antics, and more judging antics. IMO, it’s an inferior show, especially coming from a perspective of musical enjoyment (because everything there is determined by judges. Clever musical contestants need not bother) I’ll be missing Idol if and when it leaves, and, having watched the UK X-Factor, probably won’t bother with the US one.

  21. How could he run it in the fall when it would conflict with the UK show?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.