Simon Is Serious with Talk of Quitting ‘Idol’

by | April 21, 2009 at 9:19 PM | American Idol

Simon Cowell isn’t joking, he’s “not negotiating,” and he won’t “bull” Fox executives with his talk about quitting ‘American Idol ‘after next season. That’s what he says in a insightful article by Bill Carter in today’s New York Times.

The piece starts with the phenomenon of Susan Boyle on “Britain’s Got Talent,” on which Simon also serves as a judge. Simon said he was genuinely blown away by Boyle’s performance and was not clued in at all by producers as to what her singing would be like. He estimates she’ll sell at least 3 to 5 million records, and you can bet they’ll be on his record label.

But the meat of the interview was about Simon’s recent statements that he might not return to “American Idol” when his contract expires after next season. He said he doesn’t want to get bored and he doesn’t want the audience to get bored.

“When I signed the latest extension on ‘Idol’ through next season, it felt like that was going to be the right amount of time,” he told the New York Times. “It still feels right.”

Simon went on to say, “It’s not negotiating. I have as good a relationship with the people from Fox as you possibly can have. They’ve become friends. I don’t bull them.”

Updated: ‘American Idol’ Photo Gallery

Simon makes anywhere from $36 million to $45 million per season from Fox for “Idol,” depending on which reports you read and believe, but his decision, at this point, is unlikely to have much to do with money.

He may be growing tired of the “Idol” format. After getting his start on the U.K.’s “Pop Idol,” which was the precursor to “American Idol,” Simon went off and started “X Factor,” which he owns and on which he serves as a judge in the fall season in Britain.

Carter reports that part of Simon’s agreement with Fox is that he won’t sell the “X Factor” format to any American TV network while he’s still on “Idol.” But if he’s no longer on “Idol,” nothing will stop him from selling “X Factor” to a U.S. network and appearing on it.

Check out the full article here to see what Simon had to say about the new judging format on “Idol,” how the show could survive without him, and for more on the Susan Boyle spectacle.

In other ‘Idol’ news today…

A Day in the Life of ‘Idol’: USA Today got a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes on a performance show night at “Idol.” There’s some fun stuff about how everything comes together, and the added bonus about a “meltdown” from one of the judges after finding out about the awkward, paired-up judging format that was used last week.

Paula on ‘Nightline’: ABCNews.com gives a sneak peek into Cynthia McFadden’s interview with Paula Abdul, which will air at 11:35 p.m. ET Thursday night on “Nightline,” on ABC. Paula gets into everything, calling Simon a bully, addressing tension between her and new judge Kara DioGuardi, talking about this being the last year of her contract, and taking on the question (again) of whether she drinks or takes drugs.