Simon Cowell cuts back his time on the U.K. 'X Factor'

simon-cowell-nov-2010-gi.jpgIt was widely expected that Simon Cowell wouldn't be front and center on two versions of "The X Factor" this fall. Now it's official: He's cutting back his role on the British series.

ITV, which airs the music competition in the United Kingdom, has confirmed that Cowell will concentrate on launching the U.S. show on FOX in the fall. The broadcaster still hopes, however, that he'll have some kind of "on-screen presence" in the coming season, the Telegraph reports.

"We have been in constant negotiations with Simon about ways in which we can move things forward and help 'The X Factor' evolve," ITV's director of television, Peter Fincham, tells the newspaper. "We have been aware that his on-screen involvement in this series will not be as great as previous years for months now. It is something that we are completely comfortable with."

The two shows will be on the air more or less concurrently; the British "X Factor" typically kicks off in August, and FOX's show will likely premiere in September. Shuttling back and forth across the Atlantic every week would be a pretty tough schedule to keep. Fincham does say, though, that "We are talking to him about ways he can have an on-screen presence later in the show. He will not be a weekly judge, but he will be an enormous presence backstage as always."

"The X Factor," which is entering its eighth season in the U.K., is one of the most popular shows on British TV. It ranked No. 1 throughout its run last year, averaging 14.1 million viewers per episode.

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