Reeling from a disappointing year with the same programme in the UK, Simon Cowell has been dealt an even harsher blow by the Fox TV network which has cancelled The X Factor in the US.
The alarm bells for the show began ringing late in 2013 when there was an alarming slide in US viewing figures, Cowell had even drafted in Britney Spears as a judge on the talent show in an attempt to shore up ratings and breathe life into the once lucrative format but to no avail.
The latest research showed that X Factor was only able to generate 6.2 million viewers for its third series in the US, half that for its first. Cowell had previously announced that he was to return to the UK to turn around that format. With that and the falling ratings, Fox pulled the plug.
“To all of us at FOX, Simon is more than one of the most prolific TV personalities of our time -he's part of our family,” commented Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “A consummate showman and partner, there's no one more passionate or creative than Simon, and we feel so fortunate to have enjoyed such a wonderful, collaborative relationship with him over the past 12 years. Unfortunately, there is no X Factor USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats.”
Indeed following the announcement of a three-year re-commission for The X Factor on ITV in the UK, Cowell’s production firm Syco revealed that local versions of The X Factor are now produced in 45 countries and with new commissions ordered by VTV3 (Vietnam), OTV (Japan), Pink (Serbia) and ATV (Azerbaijan). In addition to ITV, re-commissions have been negotiated by Seven Network (Australia), DR1 (Denmark), TVN (Poland), Channel Russia (Russia) and TV3 (Lithuania) and in 2013, the X Factor debuted on Reshet (Israel), RCTI (Indonesia) and SIC (Portugal).
Commenting on the news, Cowell said: “I've had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on The X Factor and American Idol. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public…'Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the UK version of The X Factor in 2014. So for now, I’m back to the UK and I want to thank FOX for being an incredible partner and I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows.”