AMERICAN Idol judge Simon Cowell says he will leave the most popular show on television if it ever slips from the top spot in the ratings.
â€œThe idea that for the next five years, Iâ€™d be doing exactly what Iâ€™ve been doing for the past five years … the thought is just too depressing,â€ Cowell said in a recent interview in his trailer, awaiting a taping of Idol at CBS Television City. â€œIâ€™d go nuts, bored out of my mind. You have to evolve, you have to change. I like the challenge of launching something new.â€
With Cowellâ€™s deal with Fox expiring at the end of next season, that something new could be a US version of his UK singing competition series The X Factor. Any doubts about Cowellâ€™s role in the success of Idol disappeared when he launched Factor three years ago. The similarly formatted show became a massive hit that has since supplanted American Idol predecessor Pop Idol.
The Factor success was worrisome enough for Fox to forbid Cowell from launching the show in the US while heâ€™s under his current Idol deal. But all that could soon change. Between the continuing popularity of Idol and Cowellâ€™s ownership of Factor, heâ€™s armed with both a carrot and a stick.
Asked if he would want to stay on Idol if the series ever slips from number one in the ratings, Cowell burst out laughing at the apparent obviousness of the answer.
â€œAbsolutely not!â€ he said, looking horrified. â€œBeing number one is verging on an obsession with me. I donâ€™t like being number two.Â I donâ€™t mind when you start at number 10 â€” people donâ€™t always go on as number one â€” and youâ€™ve got somewhere to go. But if youâ€™re at the point youâ€™ve reached it, of course you want to stay there.â€
Though the Idol audience has declined over the past few seasons, the show remains far and away the ratings champ, with about 22 million viewers per episode. No other programme approaches its popularity.
Unlike many in the TV business, Cowell rejects the claim that Idol ratings erosion is inevitable.
â€œI donâ€™t accept the argument of fragmentation or declining numbers,â€ he said. â€œThe Super Bowl goes up every year.â€
Factor, he noted, also has increased its audience every year, which suggested to Cowell that the US is ready for another music competition series.
â€œWe have to bring in another music show,â€ he said. â€œIn the UK, there is more than one type of music show running throughout the year. And I think the same thing could happen here, because for the fall, nothing really happens. Itâ€™s something weâ€™ve been thinking about … I would definitely do it now.â€
â€œMaybe itâ€™ll be X Factor,â€™â€ he teased vaguely. â€œMaybe itâ€™ll be something new.â€ â€” Hollywood Reporter.