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‘X’ Marks the Spot for Cowell Rumors

A new report revives the notion that Cowell and Fox are readying a new musical competition series.

If it’s Wednesday, it must be time for a new round of Simon Cowell contract rumors.


The Hollywood Reporter tonight is reviving reports that first surfaced in July on RadarOnline. The trade says Fox is getting closer to a long-rumored new deal with "American Idol" judge Cowell, and that, as part of the agreement, the network will finally launch an American version of "The X Factor."


"X" is an "Idol"-like music competition series that has replaced "Pop Idol" in the UK. Cowell is a judge and exec producer.


It’s believed that Fox has long had an option that gives it the right to produce "X" in America, if it so wanted. So far, the network has chosen to focus on "American Idol."

On June 25, Radar reported that Cowell’s reps were negotiating a five-year agreement for Cowell to continue on "Idol" and produce new projects exclusively for Fox.


The website said Cowell had teamed with UK businessman Philip Green to form a new production banner.


Radar claimed that it would take at least two months for Cowell to hammer out a new deal. It’s been three months since the site’s initial report.


The Reporter story, posted Wednesday on the publication’s website, repeats the Radar report that Fox is ready to launch "X" in the U.S. It says Cowell would be locked in to "Idol" through 2012; his current deal expires next spring.


It also claims that Cowell, who would produce "X," is considering hiring Paula Abdul to be a judge on the new show, and that two British judges might also make the leap to the States.


A Fox rep could not immediately be reached for comment.