Simon Cowell will not appear as a weekly judge on The X Factor when it returns to ITV later this year.
ITV Director of Television Peter Fincham confirmed that Cowell would have a reduced role so he could concentrate on The X Factor USA. “We have been in constant negotiations with Simon about ways in which we can move things forward and help The X Factor evolve. We have been aware that his on-screen involvement in this series will not be as great as previous years for months now,” he admitted, adding: “It is something that we are completely comfortable with.”
But it looks like Simon will be back for some of the live shows. “We are talking to him about ways he can have an on-screen presence later in the show. He will not be a weekly judge, but he will be an enormous presence backstage as always.”
But the ITV boss has denied reports of tensions between the two camps. “Some of the speculation about us pleading with Simon to be a judge makes me smile. I constantly hear we are in crisis but in reality we have an amazingly constructive relationship with Simon and are very much reading from the same page.”
The judges will be announced in the coming weeks. It’s thought that Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh will return, and it looks like Mel B might replace Cheryl Cole after the Spice Girl let slip this week that she was moving back to Blighty “for some time”. When asked if that meant she would replace Cheryl on the judging panel, Mel said “maybe”.