Simon Cowell Leaving American Idol

01/11/2010 at 12:00 AM EST

Simon Cowell Leaving American Idol
Kevin Winter/Getty
First Paula, now Simon.

At the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., American Idol judge Simon Cowell announced that he is leaving the show to focus on a new talent search, The X Factor.

"The X Factor will launch in 2011," Cowell told reporters Monday. "Because of that, this will be my last season on American Idol."

Cowell, who launched The X Factor in the U.K., will serve as the executive producer and judge of the American version, according to a press release from FOX.



“I’m thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the U.S. version of The X Factor, and delighted to be continuing to work with FOX,” Cowell said in a statement. “We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this."

Paula Abdul, the first American Idol judge to leave the show, announced her departure with a tweet last August. She has been replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.

As for whether Abdul could be a judge on the new show, Cowell said, "I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity. Because I miss her."

Season 9 of American Idol premieres Tuesday (8 p.m. EST) on FOX.

Tell us: Will you watch American Idol without Simon Cowell? Will you watch The X Factor?

Kevin Winter/Getty

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