“Can Idol hit right notes without Simon?”

Can American Idol continue to be TV’s No. 1 show without the man we all love to hate, Simon Cowell? That was one of the big questions after Fox dropped this bomb during press tour: that an agreement had been reached to allow Cowell to leave Idol after this season in order to launch an American version of The X Factor on Fox in the fall of 2011.
As I report in a feature just posted at MSNBC.com, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly thinks other networks shouldn’t get too excited about the fact that skipper Cowell is stepping off the flight deck of Fox’s “Death Star.”

Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly says it would be premature for other network programmers to start “popping corks” at news of Cowell’s eventual departure. “We’re not losing Simon Cowell, we’re potentially gaining another big headache for (competitors) in the fall (with ‘X-Factor’),” he said, pointing out “we did just win the fall without him.”

Cowell himself told critics the show will be just fine, comparing his departure to the retirement of a star football player. “The football team will continue to be successful,” he says.
Early on in this, its ninth season, Idol shows no sign of slowing down despite the loss of judge Paula Abdul. Ellen DeGeneres makes her judging debut Feb. 9 during the Hollywood auditions. In mid-February, Idol goes head-to-head with NBC’s Winter Olympic coverage (forcing CTV to bounce its No. 1 show over to A channel). Read the full story here at MSNBC.com.

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