Cowell's threat to ITV bosses over lucrative X-Factor renewal
08:34 GMT, 27 April 2012
In talks: Simon Cowell
For a decade now, Simon Cowell has been the driving force behind the hit shows which, at one point, helped ITV avoid commercial ruin.
But the current 120 million agreement between his company Syco and the broadcaster, which gave them a two-year deal to screen the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, ends next year.
And Cowell believes ITV has failed to back him on a number of issues over the past year including a perceived lack of support over Tom Bower’s revealing biography last week.
Now he has made it clear to senior ITV executives that there are no guarantees he will automatically re-sign.
My source reveals: ‘Simon has felt recently that some people at ITV take him for granted.
‘Without him they wouldn’t have had their two biggest shows – and there was a period when the X Factor propped up the entire channel.
‘ITV is on a roll with drama after Downton Abbey. But, even now, there is no big new entertainment format that has been successfully launched — and Dancing on Ice is fading.’
Cowell has long remained loyal to ITV because being a judge on the channel’s Pop Idol series launched his TV career.
But he is always considering new opportunities and believes next year could be the right moment to bring the curtain down on The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
‘In a year’s time we might say, “Right, that’s the end of The X Factor. Let’s start something new”,’ he admitted recently, in what’s being seen as a clear warning shot to ITV.
The problem for Cowell is that he has few alternatives if he wants to launch another major new show with a different broadcaster.
Simon, far right, is considering whether to agree terms on a new deal for The X-Factor with ITV bosses
A deal with the BBC in the current climate — they’ve just spent 25 million on The Voice — is considered virtually impossible.
Channel 4 appears to be heading in a less commercial direction after cancelling Big Brother and Channel 5 delivers tiny audiences.
And while Sky has truckloads of money, Cowell (above) realises the importance of his blockbuster shows being available to view by the masses, which would not work on pay TV.
The source adds: ‘There will be some very tough negotiations ahead. ITV need to keep Simon because it’s unimaginable for them to have a schedule without Britain’s Got Talent or X Factor.
‘And, more importantly, without Simon Cowell himself.’
Fiona's film for Dad
Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips is working on a moving new TV film which tracks her father’s final days battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Phil Phillips died in hospital in February, aged 76, with his heartbroken daughter at his side.
A source on the show, which will air on Channel 4 this summer, tells me:
‘The cameras happened to be there as her dad deteriorated over the last few weeks. Fiona is so passionate about improving treatment for Alzheimer’s patients that she agreed to carry on.
'She is working on the final version — it’s emotional for her.’
Bowing out Bruce Forsyth and fellow judge Tess Daly
Last call for Bruce
After turning 84 earlier this year, there is again speculation that the new series of Strictly Come Dancing could be the last for its iconic host Sir Bruce Forsyth.
But his long-time co-presenter Tess Daly insists that her close friend wants to go: ‘on and on’. ‘He can keep doing it. Brucie loves showbusiness —he lives and breathes it: long may it continue. It keeps him going and keeps him feeling young.’
And Tess, who’s just written a novel called The Camera Never Lies, says she’s staying put, too. ‘I hope that Strictly goes on for ever,’ she tells me.
The stars of Downton Abbey are taking the film industry by storm.
Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) is joining the movie Winter’s Tale in New York as the female lead.
Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary, pictured) and Thomas Howes (William Mason) are both in Keira Knightley’s new flick Anna Karenina.
Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) is in
the Alicia Silverstone comedy Vamps and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates) is
in James McAvoy’s film Filth.
A show source says: ‘Downton opened so many doors — many were unknown, now major film producers want them.’
Cheryl inspired by Cowell's literary foray
The fallout from the book about Simon Cowell has prompted former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole to consider writing her own reveal-all volume, which could include the truth behind the axing in 2010 of talented Zimbabwean Gamu Nhengu.
A show source said: ‘It could be very embarrassing for Simon and the show.’