Ellen DeGeneres ‘Very, Very Sad’ Simon Cowell Is Leaving ‘American Idol’

'I wish him all the luck in the world hosting 'The Tonight Show,' ' new 'Idol' judge jokes.

In the wake of Simon Cowell’s surprising-but-not-that-surprising announcement that he’ll be leaving “American Idol” at the end of the upcoming season nine, one of the first people associated with the show to comment was Ellen DeGeneres , who is beginning her stint as a judge on the show this season.

“I got some news for you. So this just happened, Simon Cowell just announced that he’s leaving ‘Idol,’ ” she said during her show’s taping on Monday (January 11). “This will be his last season. He announced he’s leaving on my first day. I’m trying not to take it personally. But seriously, I am going to be very, very sad to see him go, because I think he’s made the show what it is. He’s a huge part of that show but he wanted a change. I wish him all the luck in the world hosting ‘The Tonight Show.’ ”

On Monday, after months of rumors and speculation, Cowell confirmed he’ll be leaving the “Idol” judges’ panel to launch the American version of his other talent show, “The X Factor.” In a press release, Fox announced that “The X Factor” will launch in the U.S. in the fall of 2011 with Cowell, creator of the show he launched in the U.K. in 2004, serving as both executive producer and a judge on the U.S. version.

Cowell announced his “Idol” departure at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“We did talk about me staying on both shows but when we looked at the practicalities of that, it was impossible,” Cowell told the press. “In my opinion, it’s like having a good player and a good football team. The two have to be OK together. I believe it’s not my show, but it’s still very close to me. We made sure when we did this, that I would be protected. I’m confident it will continue to be the #1 show. Everyone is committed to keeping it that way.”

Cowell followed the announcement a short time later by tweeting, “I have had the best 8 or 9 years of my life doing this show.”

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