With Simon Cowell ruling the judges' table, "American Idol" launched in 2002, spun-off from its British predecessor, "Pop Idol." "Pop Idol," meanwhile, stalled in the U.K. and "The X Factor," a singing competition created by Cowell, rose up to replace it in 2004.
Now Cowell's "X Factor" might be invading American airwaves, where it could join "Idol" on Fox, according to the Hollywood Reporter. What's more, ousted "Idol" judge Paula Abdul is rumored to be a frontrunner to assume a judging position on the new show.
Yes, this is all as strange as it seems. The pressing issue, it would seem, is that Fox risks watering down its "Idol" brand by pairing the show with a similar talent competition. Perhaps as risky, however, is having Cowell walk away from "Idol" after his contract expires next year.
Fox and Cowell are said to be in negotiations for a deal that would allow the judge to bring "X Factor" to the U.S., which has long been one of his wishes. The Reporter article states that the contract could earn Cowell about $50 million per season of "Idol," with another $50 million a season from "Factor" if the show becomes successful. Now in its sixth season, the British "Factor" launched Leona Lewis' career in 2006 and continues to be a hit show.
One of the key details still to be decided is whether Cowell would appear as a judge on "Factor." In addition to Abdul, pop singer Cheryl Cole and talent manager Louis Walsh, who both appear on the British version of the show, are also said to be in consideration for an American "Factor."
Fox declined to comment on this story, and Abdul's manager, David Sonenberg, had not responded to MTV News' request for comment by press time.