Simon Cowell's back: British 'X Factor' to air on U.S. channel

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You knew he wouldn’t stay away for long: Simon Cowell is returning to American TV, thanks to a cable network picking up the U.S. distribution rights to his U.K. hit The X Factor.

Mark Cuban’s AXS TV will air The X Factor starting with its upcoming 11th season, marking the first time the British version of the show has been distributed stateside. This season represents Cowell’s return to the judges’ table on the series after a three-year absence during which Cowell had been producing and judging Fox’s version of The X Factor (which was canceled earlier this year).

“It will be a slightly different mindset when I’m making the show in Britain knowing an American audience is going to watch it,” Cowell told Dan Rather in an AXS interview announcing the news (clip below). “I’ve been on and off [American TV] for 12 years. It’s a different feeling having my British show on American TV, which is a bit odd. But I think it’s a good thing because Americans have never seen the British show before … This particularity show, Britain’s The X Factor, probably has the best track record of all these shows of creating stars worldwide, the biggest being One Direction.”

Additionally, former Spice Girl and America’s Got Talent judge Mel B will make her debut as a full-time judge on the show, having previously served as a guest. There’s also U.K. pop singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cheryl Cole), returning for the first time in three years, and music manager Louis Walsh, making his eleventh consecutive appearance since 2004. Dermot O’Leary will host.

Cowell, of course, rose to fame on this side of the pond as a judge on Fox’s American Idol for nine seasons before launching Fox’s version of The X Factor in 2011. Fox axed the show after three tumultuous seasons punctuated by a revolving door of judges and rising singing show competition. The X Factor UK will air on Sundays and Mondays starting Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. Each episode runs one day after the show airs in the U.K. AXS TV is currently available in 43 million homes across several cable and satellite systems.

Below is a rather bombastic preview for the 11th season of X Factor:


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