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American Idol Fodder

Simon Leaving “Idol”

In a long line of national institutions that have ended before their time, Simon Cowell announced this week he’ll be leaving “American Idol” after the upcoming season.

Cowell, the cranky Brit judge who helped launch “Idol” into one of the most watched shows on television since its debut in 2002, said he’d be leaving after Season 9, which begins Tuesday.

According to Yahoo TV and the Associated Press, Cowell has decided to focus on his new show, an American version of his British singing competition “The X Factor.” Some viewers may recognize the name; that’s where singer Leona Lewis was discovered. “The X Factor” will debut on Fox next season. (And Fox execs say they are looking forward to the one-two-three punch of “Factor” in the fall, “Idol” in winter and spring and “So You Think You Can Dance” in the summer.)

Apparently Fox, which already pays him a reported $36 million for “Idol,” tried to get him to do both shows, but he turned them down. I mean, there’s only so much crankiness he can muster, right?

This marks the latest in a slew of changes for the reality singing competition, which began last summer with the departure of former judge Paula Abdul, followed by the addition of comedian Ellen DeGeneres last fall. Judges Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson are still planning to come back.

But what does this mean for the future of “Idol?” Can it survive without Cowell or will the show tank without him? And will Fox be able to find someone equally cranky to fill his shoes? Post your comments below and tune in Tuesday night for the season premiere! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on January 12, 2010 6:03 PM
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