Today I'm thinking about Simon and Simon:
No, not the 1980's TV show "Simon and Simon." I mean Simon Fuller, Creator and Executive Producer of "American Idol" and Simon Cowell, unfriendly former "American Idol" judge & Executive Producer of Fox's new reality talent show "X-Factor."
The search is on to replace Simon Cowell and it is intensifying as the preliminary auditions are underway for "American Idol" season 10. The network is looking for a widely known music industry figure to take over, and THR has learned that singer Chris Isaak has met twice with the network. Also, at least one desirable candidate has set off a tug-of-war between Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell! Cowell's new show which will also run on Fox is seeking judges too. While Fox insists no decision is imminent, according to my interview with an "Idol" producer they do hope to have Simon's seat filled by the time the Judges join the audition process in each of the audition cities. Peter Rice, the network's new entertainment chairman, has said he expects the new "Idol" judge to join the show for the auditions by early September.
It sounds like the show may be making several significant changes beyond replacing Cowell. Though still the highest rated show on TV, "Idol" has seen a big drop in ratings in recent years. Some think that opening up the competition to 15 year olds will help, but I think it will really depend on who they get to replace Simon Cowell. My vote is for Harry Connick Jr., other possibilities include Donald Trump, and Brett Michaels who has been actively campaigning for the job in an HLN interview telling Joy Behar, "I would love to do it, I would really bring it to the table."
Fox is trying to figure out how all the pieces will fit together for both talent competitions, "American Idol" and "X Factor." With the history of tension between Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell, the notion that the there is tension between the two Fox shows isn't surprising. Some believe Cowell would be pleased to see "Idol" crumble without him. One this is for sure the tension will be worse once the ratings come out.