Cowell talks about his other baby–X Factor

Cowell may be one of Fox’s biggest stars, but there are no
pics of him from Thursday’s TCA session on their media
site. Above: Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio & Kelly Roland

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.–I always admire how the big mouth Brits commit to press tour. You never catch Simon Cowell ducking a panel because he’s now too big for the room. He shows up, answers every question and sells his shows.
He was back doing it again Thursday despite word of a personal scandal. The U.K. tabs were all over a story that Cowell has fathered a child with a married U.S. socialite.
Yet there was Cowell, on stage with X Factor host Mario Lopez, holdover judge Demi Lovato and two new judges, Paulina Rubio and Kelly Roland. As one critic tweeted, it looked like a Charlie’s Angels panel, with Lopez as Bosley.
Cowell was dressed in his trademark T-shirt, one that looked like it had been slept in the night before. It was quite a while into the session before somebody went there with the baby question, which was clumsily broached with a lame “congratulations.” Cowell said thanks and shut things down with a “can’t really comment” comment.
Later in the scrum he was asked if he felt the media treated him fairly. Always, said Cowell, who pointed out that “when I need a story you wrote about it, you take the rough with the smooth.”
Which is pretty smooth.
Despite the personal edginess, there was none of the drama of Cowell’s  old American Idol TCA sessions. Thursday’s sleepy affair was Paula Abdul away from being a hot mess. Some of us in the room actually found ourselves missing the old madness.
Cowell gave some specifics on the upcoming season, mainly in the scrum. He’s ditching the “Judges Homes” part of the talent hunt, feeling it slowed the series down. He’s got something planned instead but wasn’t prepared to share it.
Going with three female judges was Cowell’s attempt to not look like the other guys. The Voice has become TV’s top talent search show, with Idol still topping X Factor.
As for the departure of Brittany Spears, Cowell was uncharacteristically coy, suggesting last season was a bit like a dinner party that went sour. Her fee may also have been a factor. Cowell revealed that X Factor‘s prize has quietly been discounted from five million to one million, still not too shabby.
Cowell’s pumped about his new career as a film producer. He’s got two movies coming out, including a documentary on On Direction. Cowell can’t believe how slow it is on the movie side, pointing out it tool 12 months to make a 90-minute movie. He’s used to cranking out two hours of TV twice a week.

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