Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Cowell on a roll as US show renewed

Simon Cowell's US TV series America's Got Talent has been renewed by NBC (AP)
Simon Cowell's US TV series America's Got Talent has been renewed by NBC (AP)

Simon Cowell's US TV show America's Got Talent, which he created and produces, was renewed yesterday for a 10th season by NBC.

It's part of a Got Talent franchise seen in 62 countries which, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, makes it the most successful reality show yet.

Three weeks ago, he placed a good-sized bet on Germany to win the World Cup.

And, to top it all off, he is revelling in first-time fatherhood with his infant son with his girlfriend, socialite Lauren Silverman.

"He's amazing. We're in the Hamptons (in New York) at the moment, taking a break. He's five months old, learning to swim," Cowell said.

Family life has not derailed attending to business for the British TV host and producer who is also the music executive behind such hit acts as One Direction.

He's pleased, if unsurprised, that NBC renewed America's Got Talent, which features Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel as judges and Nick Cannon as host.

The series, a big-tent talent show for every sort of performer, has thrived while singing shows like American Idol and The Voice have suffered ratings erosion.

"There's so many music shows on at the moment, there was always going to be this problem of dilution. The whole reason we devised Talent is it was supposed to be different," Cowell said.

He attributes its success worldwide in large part to careful handling by FremantleMedia, its co-owner and producer with Cowell's Syco Entertainment.

The programme airs just once a year in each market to avoid wearing out the format's welcome.

In contrast, he considers his US version of The X Factor singing contest a victim of overcrowding, cancelled by Fox after three seasons.

Cowell said if he had it to do over again he would have insisted Fox choose between it or network sibling American Idol.

"Having two shows and The Voice (on NBC) running at the same time was way too much," he said.

"If they had kept with X Factor and had more confidence in it, the show would have done what it is in the UK," where it is a hit.

That easy confidence, a Cowell trademark, may explain why he is planning on returning to the arena with another singing contest.

It has been in development for about eight months and will have a new twist - he is keeping that secret - to distinguish itself from the competition, he said.

He will present the idea to US networks when he thinks it is ready, he said, along with another talent show that he is working on that, like AGT, is not solely just music-related.

Might he consider another project altogether, marriage to Ms Silverman?

"We'll wait and see," Cowell replied, politely.

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