Will Simon Cowell Go Back to the U.K.'s 'X Factor' Next Season?

After the original U.K. show wrapped its ninth season with pitiful ratings, the rumor mill reveals that the show may need face time from Cowell to survive

For several years now, Simon Cowell has appeared to be on a quest to take over the world, one televised talent competition at a time. But juggling singing shows across two continents is no easy feat. Just as the U.S. version of The X Factor (Fox, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET) has been gaining momentum, the U.K. version of the show has been losing steam. And now there are whispers that Cowell might have to rescue the original show. In other words, take his personal star power back to his native Britain, and resume judging there again.

But with The X Factor on our side of the pond still fighting to maintain its viewers (against Cowell's wishes, people keep stubbornly watching American Idol and The Voice), Cowell can't afford to abandon L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, either. So he'd have to do both shows, trading nasty quips with Lovato on Wednesdays and Thursdays, then hopping on a plane and doing it again with, say, Nicole Scherzinger, on the U.K. version on Saturdays and Sundays. And then back again. 

That would be fine by some British TV critics, who'll take Cowell any way they can get him. "A jet-lagged Cowell would be better than 99% of talent show judges," wrote Alex Fletcher of the U.K.'s Digital Spy. He added that bringing back an old face like Cowell's "would certainly bring some nostalgia from the show's glory years."  

During The X Factor UK's ninth season, which ended on Sunday night, viewing numbers fell to some of the lowest in the show's history. "The X Factor may not be dead," wrote Andrew Billen of The London Times. "But either the end is nigh or Cowell’s return is." 

And the show is giving Cowell's other headaches, too. In 2011, he moved X Factor UK judge Cheryl Cole over to judge the American version, then fired her mere days into the first auditions. Though she was paid for the entire first season, she says she was promised season two earnings, too, and she's suing the production company for more than $2 million.

"It could be disastrous for Simon because he has publicly taken responsibility for firing Cheryl," a source told The Daily Mail. "He will almost certainly be deposed."

Clearly, it's not easy being the most hated man in reality TV. And the "being hated" part seems to be the least of it!

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