Simon Cowell to return to The X Factor UK as US version axed

The programme's creator is to return to the British version for the first time in four years

Simon Cowell is set to return to The X Factor in the UK as the US version is axed by Fox, the Guardian reports.

The programme’s creator last appeared as a judge on the British show in 2010 before heading to America to launch it there. He will return to the UK to try and reverse falling viewing figures – also the reason The X Factor US has been cancelled by its broadcaster, Fox. Last year’s final achieved only 9.6 million viewers, the lowest since the 2005 final and nearly half of the show’s highest figures of 17 million in 2010.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to The X Factor UK,” said Cowell, who signed a new £150m three-year deal with ITV late last year. “It’s been three years since I last judged the competition and I’m excited to find a global superstar again. The UK X Factor has set the benchmark in finding worldwide superstars over the years – including One Direction, Leona Lewis, Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs, JLS and Little Mix.”

There has been no confirmation of who else will appear on the judging panel when the show returns later this year, although speculation is that former judge Cheryl Cole could make a return to the programme. Cowell has commented on the line-up, saying: “Despite all the rumours, ITV and the producers have not decided on the rest of the judging panel quite yet. You’ll just have to wait and see.”

The X Factor UK will return to ITV in the autumn, while auditions will take place across the country in June.