Celebrities

Simon Cowell drops X Factor with no plans to air singing show after 17 years on ITV

X Factor: Dermot O’Leary says show won’t return next year

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It’s been reported that Simon Cowell, 61, has made the decision to call it quits and take X Factor off the air after 17 years on ITV. The singing competition is responsible for propelling the likes of Little Mix, JLS, One Direction, Olly Murs, Leona Lewis, Stacey Solomon and many, many more into the limelight, but ITV confirmed there are “no current plans” for another series.

There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage

ITV spokesperson

Instead, the music mogul has other ventures planned for the future, including the launch of a brand new gameshow Walk The Line, which he has helped mastermind and is set to air in a prime-time Saturday night slot.

An insider revealed it is like a “musical version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” except it’s a gameshow and not a talent show.

They also added that “it’s important to stress it’s not being eyed as a direct replacement for The X Factor.”

ITV boss Kevin Lygo had said at last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival that The X Factor would not return following a multi-year hiatus in 2021, but insisted it would “be back at some stage”.

Over the years, the talent show seemed to be heading on a downward path, but at the height of its popularity it drew in more than 14 million viewers on Saturday nights.

It was first broadcast in 2004, crowing Steve Brookstein, now 52, the first ever winner.

Winning the show gave the champions an almost guaranteed Christmas Number One, alongside a recording contract with Cowell’s label.

The last winner of The X Factor was Dalton Harris in 2018.

A show insider told The Sun: “Globally, it is still a phenomenon and rakes in millions every year. But in the UK, there is no question it has become slightly stale.

“Simon remains at the top of his game and knows how to make a hit. He owns the rights to the show, and it’s his call — not ITV’s — whether or not he drops it.

“Clearly the last thing he wants is for X Factor to fizzle out with a whimper and become a bit of a joke — especially in contrast to the show in its pomp.”

2019 saw the programme pulled from ITV schedules for the first time, and host Dermot O’Leary admitted he wasn’t entirely sure it would be right to bring the show back.

“I’m in two minds, because half of me thinks there’s a reason why we rested it,” he told the Radio Times at the time.

“We were doing the same thing but then again, there is a real sense of simplicity to that show I love, which is great singers and great characters.

“It’s a celebration of British eccentricity! Let’s just get them out there and see where we end up.”

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