Blimey!

Blimey!

Rumors are circulating that acidly-opinionated “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell will leave the show after its 2010 season. The Times of London has reported that Cowell is preparing to ink an agreement next year to host a U.S. version of the Brit series “The X Factor,” which is expected to premier in 2011. Speculation is rife that Cowell, famous for his biting critiques of performers and their talent, will leave Idol after next season (that speculation was fueled by Cowell’s brother, Tony, who reported in his podcast: “A press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everybody expected: Simon will leave ‘Idol’ at the end of 2010.”). These reports prompted rumors that FOX television was ready to offer the British music producer over $100 million to keep him on “Idol” for another season. The Times said that Cowell informed FOX broadcasting chief Peter Rice in October he was thinking of leaving “Idol” after 2010. That said, a lot can happen over six weeks. Would Cowell consider starring on both “Idol” and the American “X Factor”? It’s possible, but working as a judge on two talent shows on the same network (plus the U.K. version of “X Factor”) could be overkill, and could potentially damage both programs. On a related note, Cowell has been oddly quiet about the hiring of Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul as an “Idol” judge, which has lead to speculation he may not be happy with the selection (and by extension, the program). Whatever the case, by coincidence, Abdul herself has been seen as a prime candidate to host an American “X Factor.”