Simon Cowell To Leave "Idol" After This Season To Launch U.S. "X Factor"
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As has been long rumored, Simon Cowell is leaving his judging spot on "American Idol" after his season to launch an American version of "The X Factor" on Fox.

The U.S. version of "X Factor" - which was responsible for the discovery of Leona Lewis in the U.K. - will debut in fall 2011. Cowell will serve as both executive producer and judge on the show, the format of which he created and launched in the U.K. in 2004.

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The U.S. version will be produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America. "X Factor" is currently shown in 17 countries.

I¹m thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the U.S. version of 'The X Factor', and delighted to be continuing to work with Fox," Cowell said in a statement. "We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this."

There was no immediate word on what Cowell's departure will mean for "American Idol," which debuts its ninth season tomorrow night.