The X Factor USA is no more.
The Simon Cowell fronted talent search wrapped its third season back in December; a season FOX have announced this afternoon was its last.
Details after the jump…
Despite the addition of popular judge Kelly Rowland to the panel (which included Cowell, Demi Lovato, and Paulina Rubio), the show continued to trail behind established rivals American Idol and The Voice.
Worse still, the latest instalment of the British import had the unfortunate misfortune of continuing the show’s season-on-season ratings decline. A trend previous panelist such as Britney Spears could not prevent.
And despite claims from Cowell that he and FOX were in negotiations for a streamlined fourth season (which would have done away with the two-night format in favour of a one-hour/once-a-week setup), today saw the network wield the axe. Albeit politely.
In what appears to be carefully constructed PR spin (to minimize negative press), channel chiefs are citing Cowell’s recently confirmed return to the UK version of the show as the sole reason for laying the ‘X’ to rest. Indeed, there was no mention of tragic ratings when Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment at FOX said in a statement moments ago:
“Unfortunately, there is no X Factor USA without Simon Cowel. But we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon.“
Cowell followed with:
“I’ve had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on The X Factor and American Idol. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public (most of the time!).” The sometimes-acerbic judge added, “I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows. America, I’ll see you soon!”
Some may scoff, but this is a touch unfortunate. For, the X Factor inherently has ample potential embedded in its format. However, it’s biggest “sins” during its US run included the horrible editing that focussed on soap-opera sob stories, an uneven balance of decent talent, and the pathetic handling of the show’s winners.
More than anything, though, it was Cowell’s cocky declaration that the ‘X’ would pull in 20 million viewers in its first season (a goal it couldn’t even meet half-way) that seemed to be its slow kiss of death. In that regard, the show was essentially doomed before it began.
Cockiness comes at a cost.