L.A. Reid is leaving “The X Factor.”
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the reality TV judge will not be returning to the Fox series for season three. The Epic Records chairman will return to his full-time gig of running the Sony music label with plans to invest renewed energy and vigor into developing new and signed talent.
“I have the utmost respect for Simon Cowell, he is the very best and I have had the opportunity to learn so much from him,” said Reid. “Working with him on ‘X Factor’ has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’m honored to have sat on the panel with such incredible talent.”
Reid was the first judge hired by Cowell for season one last year. He was also the only judge to survive a brutal bloodbath that saw fellow judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones, fired prior to season two.
After mentoring the boys during season one, Reid was placed in charge of the over 25s for season two. Though he was initially unhappy with the assignment, his mentee Tate Stevens has proven to be one of two front-runners to win the $5 million prize during next week’s finale.
“Of course I will miss the show, in my opinion Simon attracts the best talent but I’m looking forward to getting back to my core business and the responsibility of running Epic Records,” added Reid.
It is not yet known whether current judges Britney Spears or Demi Lovato will remain on board for season three, which has already been given the green light by Fox.
Wednesday’s semifinals episode of “X Factor” averaged 7.8 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. Overall, the series’ second season is down in total viewership and the key demo, hovering around 9 million viewers per episode. (Season one saw an average of more than 12 million viewers per episode.)