'American Idol' exclusive: Simon Cowell replacement won't be named before season's end, show source says | EW.com

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'American Idol' exclusive: Simon Cowell replacement won't be named before season's end, show source says


simon-cowell-chestImage Credit: FoxWith only three weeks and six episodes left in Simon Cowell’s American Idol tenure, don’t be surprised if rumors and speculation about his season 10 replacement begin to intensify. But under the heading of “don’t believe everything you read,” a show source tells EW that Cowell’s successor will not be named until after the May 26 season finale. (That, of course, also means no bombshell announcement at Fox’s May 17 upfronts presentation, when the network will unveil its fall schedule to advertisers.)

The delay in finalizing such a crucial decision makes sense on several levels. For starters, any replacement announcement before month’s end would steal some of the spotlight away from the show’s current crop of contestants, not to mention Cowell’s role in the season 9 finale extravaganza. What’s more, Fox and Idol will score plenty of free publicity as debate over Cowell 2.0 turns into a popular summer sport, one that should keep water cooler buzz alive for the reality juggernaut during its seven-month hiatus from the airwaves. As Fox chariman Peter Rice said back at the network’s TCA presentation in January, “We’re not going to rush into something. We’re not going to try to find a Simon clone who can do what he does because, you know, he’s one of a kind. But the [Idol] format itself, people love.”

Cowell, for his part, is moving on to executive produce and judge a U.S. version of his British hit, The X Factor, slated to debut on Fox in fall 2011. [Related: ‘American Idol’: What should the Top 4 sing for ‘Songs of the Cinema’ Week?; Kris Allen on the controversy over his new single, ‘The Truth,’ and those added Pat Monahan vocals; get all my Idol news and commentary by following me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.]


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