January 12th, 2010
05:08 PM ET

Simon Cowell steals the show!

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!

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Leonardo

    No age limits on X Factor.......

    January 14, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tonia

    From what I've heard/read, "The X Factor" allows duos and groups to compete, too, not just solo singers.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rejean

    Comedy Central should Offer Conan a time slot. Pair him up with Stewart and Colbert. Thsoe 3 shows back to back. Funny stuff.

    January 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gloria

    The X-Factor is no different from American Idol. I've watched some of the contestants on you tube. So why would Simon want to bring it to America? Does he have a hidden agenda? The only difference in these two shows is that one is in America and the other is in the UK. I would love for Simon to stay. I think he is funny and I think that is what Ellen will bring to the show. I like her already. I love American Idol. I can't see my self committing to watch the X-Factor.

    January 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carol

    Care to explain to me what a talk show host and comedian brings as far as experience when critiqing musical talent? Ellen Degeneres is a HORRIBLE choice for Paula's replacement, and with SImon leaving the show, I will NO LONGER be watching American Idol. I guess people who have "true musical talent" will have to earn a record contract the old-fashioned way: very hard work!

    January 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Isay

    Dont like Kara AT ALL. She wants to be somebody but herself. She wanted to be funny, nasty, ... SOOOOOOO PHONY!!!! Please take her of the show. Maybe Victoria wore too much make-up that makes her face frozen...

    January 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey

    Ellen in the show, you guys are out of luck. That, whatever you call it going to try to take over the show and make a mess out of it. American Idol, the one we know will be over with.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    I thought that American Idol was awful. How can anybody think that the show was that good with judges like Kara DioGuardi and Victoria Beckham. Both judges are on ego trips and are stuck-up. Kara gets on my nerves on the way she treats a lot of contestants. Kara doesn't realize the impact she leaves on a lot of these young contestants. I like Simon and Randy because they are honest and actually try to help contestants where Kara does not. Get Kara off the show and bring back Paula Abdul. And Simon is extremely smart to be leaving American Idol and starting his own show.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shel'

    Both music shows .. but I do not believe there is an max age in X Factor; groups can audition; bands can audition etc .. and if I'm not mistaken, they break up the performances as well. Quite a few good performers have come out of X Factor as well .. my favorite being Leona Lewis.

    January 13, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Debra R

    Not sure if Ellen can save American Idol...she's his polar opposite!

    January 13, 2010 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Terry Washington State

    Aside the talent, Simon is the show! Without Paula and Simon. I don't think I'll watch it. It's become less of a "thing" the last couple years anyway.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Emily

    Can someone explain to me how X Factor is different than American Idol? I have honestly been looking for something that is different, but they seem like the exact same show with different names...

    January 12, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |

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