January 12th, 2010
05:08 PM ET
It was supposed to be the FOX Television Critics Association Tour in Pasadena, California on Monday, but within the first hour it was overshadowed.
Dozens of print, radio and television journalists were gathered in various rooms of the lavish Langham Hotel & Spa to hear about the slate of upcoming shows for FOX TV. But shortly after noon everyone's blackberry was abuzz: "BREAKING NEWS SIMON COWELL QUITS AMERICAN IDOL!" We turned our attention from interviewing the stars of "24", "Bones" and other current and upcoming FOX shows and ran to the other side of the hotel where Simon Cowell was part of a panel discussion.
Within minutes I learned that Simon Cowell was indeed quitting "American Idol" and that he would be bringing "The X Factor" to America. Just about every journalist in the hotel had questions for him and wanted an exclusive interview after his panel discussion. Well I tried but that interview was reserved for, shall we say, another entertainment outlet. UGH!!! So much for hustling and chasing the story, when the subject matter avoids you.
Instead, I spoke to more than a dozen actors of upcoming FOX Shows like "Human Target" and "Code 58" and "Sons of Tucson" as well as returning shows "24" and "America's Most Wanted" about the story du jour and surprisingly they were not put off by fielding more questions about Simon Cowell than their own shows.
"24" Actress Katee Sackhoff told me :"I'm a Simon fan but it's been eight years and he's passing the torch to a phenomenal woman and Ellen is amazing. If she's going to do anything with that show that she did with her daytime show, then the ratings are going to far exceed what they have already. You don't try and replace Simon. You just try and be different from Simon and I think that they have managed that very well."
"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh chimed in as well: "I'm a fan of American Idol, Simon is a good guy. I've known him for years. He's a good business man. 'X Factor' is a huge hit in Europe. I think it will be a great addition to the FOX line-up. Idol will continue. I wish him well. No matter what you think of Simon Cowell, he is a good man and he's a good business man. It's a good move for FOX."
And dramatic actor Cherry Jones of "24" had a little fun with the Simon Cowell announcement by bringing up the other major news of the day – the fact that Sarah Palin got hired by FOX News as a contributor. Jones said: "I'm just surprised that Sarah Palin didn't get that job too." She was referring to Simon Cowell's soon to be vacant job at AI!
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