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

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.” READ FULL STORY

Demi Lovato confirms 'X Factor' exit

Demi Lovato says she’s leaving The X Factor to focus on her music career.

In an interview after Wednesday’s performance show the 21-year-old singer-actress said she wanted to return to her “roots.”

Lavoto plans to devote next year to touring and working on a new album. READ FULL STORY

The aXe-Factor: Simon Cowell's renewal odds are better than you think


Fox renewed The X Factor by early November during its first two years on the air.

So far this fall … [crickets].

The industry’s widespread assumption is that the bombastic competition series will be canceled due to low ratings. That’s been our assumption, too. Yet we’re hearing Factor‘s fate is not yet sealed. In fact, sources say Fox and Factor producers have started renewal discussions on a potential fourth season. The negotiations are for a reduced number of episodes (more on that later). Mind you, these talks are just that — talks — and no guarantee of a pickup. But some sources contend the show’s renewal odds have actually turned slightly in favor of the show coming back, which is surprising (Fox, FremantleMedia and Syco had no comment).

You know the numbers are ugly: Factor‘s third season dive-bombed. The singing competition debuted down 38 percent among adults 18-49 from season 2 (which, in turn, was down from season 1). Since then, Factor has hit one all-time-low rating after another. “If it’s good, the ratings will go up,” X Factor chief Simon Cowell boldly told EW at the start of the season. “If it’s terrible, they’ll go down.” So by Cowell’s own logic, The X Factor this season has been “terrible.”

So why consider bringing it back?

The reasons for Fox’s hesitation to pull the plug on Factor are complex and network-y, but have some compelling logic. READ FULL STORY

Simon Cowell on low 'X Factor' ratings: 'If it's good, the ratings will go up'

For Simon Cowell, the ratings game is simple. “If it’s good, the ratings will go up. If it’s terrible they’ll go down,” the reality mogul told EW.

The X Factor’s third season got off to a rocky start, hitting a new ratings low with its season premiere and continuing to disappoint. Cowell isn’t worried, though, and sees the dip as part of the cycle that all shows must endure. “You’ve just got to do what we’ve always done over the year for these shows,” he said. “You have your high moments, you have your dips, and you roll your sleeves up and do something better than everyone else is doing.” That high moment, he hopes, could be the new Four Chair Challenge, airing Wednesday on Fox.

More ex-fans for 'X Factor': Ratings lowest ever


So Simon … do you want to join NBC’s America’s Got Talent next summer or return to Fox’s American Idol?

Because a fourth season of The X Factor probably isn’t going to happen.

The broadcast season hasn’t even officially started yet and Factor has been bombing, delivering ratings roughly 38 percent lower than last fall in its first couple weeks on the air. Thursday night’s episode fell to 6.1 million viewers and an unprecedented 1.9 in the demo, slipping 14 percent from last week’s two-hour edition. Broadcast competition was soft, with Factor facing repeats and the modestly rated summer finales of ABC’s Wipeout (4.4 million, 1.2) and NBC’s Million Second Quiz (5.4 million, 1.4), the latter hosted by Cowell’s former Idol band-mate Ryan Seacrest.

Given that Factor will start facing heavy competition next week like original episodes of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, it’s easy to imagine its demo rating slipping lower into the teens. Plus, NBC’s The Voice is about to launch. Voice doesn’t air on the same nights as X Factor, yet its presence certainly can’t help matters. Critics, including our EW’s Annie Barrett, have been pretty brutal about Factor Ver. 3.0, which has yet another revamped judging panel that includes Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland.

Yet Fox has cause for optimism for other slots on the schedule: New drama Sleepy Hollow surprised with an impressive opener on Monday, and the network’s new Tuesday comedies improved their time slots.

'X Factor' season 3 poster: Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato at each other's throats again -- EXCLUSIVE

New promo art for season 3 of The X Factor shows that Simon Cowell, the show’s sole remaining original judge, is truly outnumbered this year. He’s flanked by rookies Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland, while returning judge Demi Lovato has a firm grip on his neck.

“Simon thinks he’s in charge. He’d better think again,” the promo warns.

The new season kicks off its two-night premiere Wednesday, Sept. 11, on Fox.

Simon Cowell can't imagine 'X Factor' cancellation, returning to 'Idol'


If the TV industry tom-toms have it right, this fall will be the last season of Fox’s The X Factor if the singing competition continues its downward ratings trend.

With Factor‘s judges panel being overhauled for the third time, the new season has Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio replacing last year’s Britney Spears and L.A. Reid, with executive producer/judge Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato continuing forward.

Since Fox’s American Idol is also in a ratings tailspin (albeit at a loftier level), some have wondered if Cowell might end up back on his old show if Factor is cancelled after season 3.

“I can’t imagine either scenario,” Cowell told TV critics at a conference on Thursday when asked about the hypothetical situation. “I can’t. I just can’t do that. No. Somebody once said, ‘Know when to leave the fair.’ Most importantly, I’ve always believed if you make great TV shows, people will watch them.” READ FULL STORY

At TCA, we want answers about 'Homeland,' 'American Horror Story: Coven,' 'Agents of SHIELD,' more

Summer is typically a pretty quiet time for TV fans, but July is full of television news, thanks to last weekend’s Comic-Con and today’s kickoff of the Television Critics Association Press Tour.

As entertainment reporters (including EW’s Inside TV team) settle in for two weeks of TCA presentations, we’re looking forward to the new and returning shows we didn’t catch up with down in San Diego, plus reminding you of all the great news we scooped up during our Comic-Con interviews. Stick with through Aug. 7 for everything you need to know about these shows and more:

'X Factor': Kelly Rowland near deal as judge -- EXCLUSIVE

Fox’s The X Factor is looking to have plenty of girl power next fall. The judges panel will likely consist of executive producer Simon Cowell and three female judges.

One will be returning judge Demi Lovato, as the network previously announced. If all goes according to plan, another will be singer, dancer and Super Bowl halftime show-stopper Kelly Rowland. The Grammy-winning Destiny’s Child founding member has previously been floated as a potential judge in the press, but EW can exclusively report she’s firming up a deal to join the show. Rowland should feel quite comfortable at the judges table; she has extensive on-camera experience, from serving as a judge on the eighth season of the UK version of The X Factor to performing on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.

We’re not certain who will secure the third judge spot, though we’re hearing Latin singer-actress Paulina Rubio is in talks.

The deals will have to be completed soon — The X Factor starts production on season three on Tuesday. The new judges will replace season two panelists Britney Spears and L.A. Reid.

The news comes on the heels of EW’s exclusive report Thursday that NBC will re-sign its Voice judges for two more cycles, which NBC confirmed earlier today.

Simon Cowell is launching another talent competition

Simon Cowell just can’t quit creating new variations on Star Search. The ex-American Idol judge and current X Factor majordomo announced today that his company, Syco Entertainment, is joining forces with YouTube for “The You Generation,” an online talent competition that will be available in 15 languages and 26 different countries.

The twist: It’s not just for singers. According to Syco, “You Generation” is seeking “unconventional and original talents” in a variety of categories, including photography, cooking, visual art, and — perhaps most excitingly — magic. The contest begins next month, when would-be contestants can begin uploading their video entries onto the competition’s YouTube channel. Prizes will be awarded “every fortnight,” with a grand prize coming at the end of one year.

See the amusingly melodramatic trailer for “You Generation” below:


Report claims Khloe Kardashian booted from 'X Factor'

to come back, but not Khloe,” an insider told the publication.

That would align with the sense we got from Fox reality chief Mike Darnell last month, as well as a tip we recently received that Fox denied. “I think the hosts were okay,” Darnell told EW in January. “I think Mario knows how to be a host. I think Khloe was new. And I thought for someone new she did okay. She never hosted before.”

For now, however, the network and the show’s producers say the Kardashian report is premature. “The producers have not yet made the talent decisions for this year,” an X Factor rep said in statement. (Yet if you always believe what The X Factor team says about departing talent rumors, then you’d still think Steve Jones was hosting the show).

If Kardashian does exit, there could be another reason for the shakeup aside from the TV personality’s awkward performance (see below). With X Factor ratings down for season two, we’re told producers might have to look for ways to shrink the show’s budget. Networks generally prefer cuts to be less visible to the audience, so the storytelling quality doesn’t suffer (hey stop laughing!). But if American Idol can get by with one host, surely X Factor doesn’t really need two — especially when the duo didn’t exactly win raves the first time around.

The departure would mean Kardashian is following judges Britney Spears and L.A. Reid out the door, with Simon Cowell remaining at the helm and Demi Lovato still uncertain. What do you think? Should Kardashian get the boot? Moreover: Should Lopez be asked to return?

PREVIOUS: ‘X Factor': Fox explains what went wrong in season 2

This ultra-short X Factor clip has terrible video quality, but there’s just enough here to show how Kardashian could make Lopez look like Seacrest: READ FULL STORY

Britney Spears confirms she's leaving 'X Factor'

As much as we hate to repeat ourselves: Britney Spears is leaving The X Factor. The singer released this statement:

“I’ve made the very difficult decision not to return for another season. I had an incredible time doing the show and I love the other judges and I am so proud of my teens but it’s time for me to get back in the studio. Watching them all do their thing up on that stage every week made me miss performing so much! I can’t wait to get back out there and do what I love most.”

A Fox rep confirmed the news. For more details and analysis, see our story on the matter from yesterday.

'X Factor': Fox explains what went wrong in season 2


Though Fox’s The X Factor performed solidly in the ratings while delivering 40 hours of programming last fall, the show struggled with the perception of failure — both critically and in terms of the show’s ratings, which declined from the first season. There’s no doubt Fox hoped for more strength from the heavily hyped show, and executives gave a couple hints Tuesday about what they thought missed the mark.

The network’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly, talking to critics at a Fox press event, staunchly defended the show. “I thought The X Factor was excellent this year,” he said. “Last year, the ratings were a little bit higher, but I think it was a better show this year. The talent was good. The production was good. I think some of the new elements that were added were good.”

And new judge Britney Spears? “I think Britney did a really good job,” Reilly said. “People remain fascinated with her. Maybe some people were waiting for more drastic displays of some nature that never came.”

That said, only Simon Cowell is confirmed to return. L.A. Reid is stepping down. You can bet there’s going to be more changes, as well.  READ FULL STORY


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