Simon Cowell quitting ‘American Idol’ to launch ‘The X Factor’ in USA

'It's time to move on,' mogul says about decision

Simon Cowell is to quit his role as a judge on the American Idol TV show to launch The X Factor in the USA, he has confirmed.

The mogul has held the position on American Idol since its 2002 start, but says he is leaving for a “new challenge” by taking The X Factor franchise across the Atlantic.

Speaking to BBC News, Cowell said he is leaving the show on good terms with the producers. He added that he was offered more money to stay on as a judge, but that he turned down a new contract.

“I think that you know when it’s time to move on,” he said. “[Money] wasn’t the reason behind it. I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge.”

Cowell will reportedly make more money with The X Factor – which he created – if the programme is a success in the US. He owns the rights to The X Factor and will act as executive producer on the show, which will be broadcast on the Fox network.

American Idol, which is also broadcast on Fox, is yet to name a replacement judge for Cowell, although there is speculation that Paula Abdul – who left the programme in 2009 – may return. Cowell also ruled out rumours that Victoria Beckham would be joining the show.