First Paula, now Simon.
At the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., American Idol judge Simon Cowell announced that he is leaving the show to focus on a new talent search, The X Factor.
“The X Factor will launch in 2011,” Cowell told reporters Monday. “Because of that, this will be my last season on American Idol.”
Cowell, who launched The X Factor in the U.K., will serve as the executive producer and judge of the American version, according to a press release from FOX.
“I’m 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.”
Paula Abdul, the first American Idol judge to leave the show, announced her departure with a tweet last August. She has been replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.
As for whether Abdul could be a judge on the new show, Cowell said, “I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity. Because I miss her.”
Season 9 of American Idol premieres Tuesday (8 p.m. EST) on FOX.