Susan Boyle, intrigued internet viewers with tens of millions of hits after her recent vocal performance on Britain’s Got Talent, is now a wholly owned artist of Simon Inc.
Beyond his part in the Susan Boyle explosion, Simon was also on the top-rated television shows last week: this season’s first new episode of “Britain’s Got Talent,” and the latest edition of “American Idol.”
But in an interview the The Daily Mirror of London, Cowell sent a panic into hearts of Fox management by stating that he may leave his judging job on American Idol and he said he is serious. “When I signed the latest extension on ‘Idol’ through next season, it felt like that was going to be the right amount of time,” Mr. Cowell said. “It still feels right.”
This could of course just be a negotiating tactic to squeeze even more out of the staggering $36 million salary he currently gets from Fox for American Idol. An anonymous senior Fox executive said, “We recognize this from the last time we were in this position with Simon.”
With ratings down about 15 percent this season, “American Idol” is still television’s most popular show — and an important show on Fox’s prime-time schedule. But Cowell said: “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.” He added, “I don’t want to get bored, and I don’t want the audience to get bored.”
But is he bigger than “American Idol” itself? Mr. Davies said: “The audience looks to Simon to tell them what to think of the participants. I don’t think the damage to ‘Idol’ would necessarily be fatal if Simon left, but the show would be very seriously injured.”Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research of Horizon Media, a media buying firm, went even further. “I think it would be catastrophic for the show, particularly since it is beginning to show signs of viewer fatigue this season,” Mr. Adgate said.
Mr. Cowell said, “I think the show could go on for another 5 or 10 years. It would just be a different type show.” “We have some practical problems with a fourth judge,” he said. “The girls talk more than the guys, so we’ve run long. But I think it’s good for the show.”
“X Factor” is sitting in Mr. Cowell’s pocket with huge potential profits. He agreed in his most recent Fox contract that he wouldn’t sell that series in the US. If he does leave “Idol,” he said, he would be able to sell “X Factor” in the US.
Cowell’s company Syco makes millions from the albums and tour appearances by singers who appear on the shows he owns. “We will ship between three million and five million copies of a Susan Boyle album,” Cowell said. “Paul Potts sold five million. I think there’s a chance we could double that.”
All this from an artist who, Cowell says, truly came out of nowhere. “It had been a long day in Scotland. We’d seen no talent at all. All I knew about her was a name on a sheet of paper. She came out and she looked a bit odd, and the dress looked odd. I gave her five seconds at most. But then she started singing, and within two seconds everything changed.”