The new season of American Idol doesn’t premiere until January, but interesting things are afoot already behind the scenes. According to Simon Cowell’s brother, the caustic reality judge is looking to leave the show after the upcoming season to focus on adapting his British hit The X Factor for American television. This is not too surprising, as Cowell himself ruminated on leaving the show as early as last April, several months before Paula Abdul announced her departure.
To add intrigue to the matter, 58% of viewers said they would stop watching American Idol if Simon Cowell left the show in a recent survey. This would be a devastating blow to Idol, and would certainly knock it off its pedestal as America’s favorite show. Fox seems unfazed by such talk though, as the channel is near a deal to extend Idol‘s run by three seasons; even if half the viewers jumped ship, Idol would still be among the top rated shows on TV. So look forward to many more years of American Idol, regardless of Cowell’s involvement. In the meantime, catch judges Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, Abdul replacement Ellen DeGeneres, and ubiquitous host Ryan Seacrest while you can when the ninth season of American Idol premieres on Fox on January 12, 2010.