Published January 12, 2010
Simon Cowell has been meeting with Paula Abdul to discuss the possibility of bringing his former “American Idol” colleague on as a judge for his next television endeavor, an American version of his hit U.K. show, “The X Factor,” according to a report from TMZ.
Cowell announced on Monday that this season would be his last on “American Idol,” the show that made him a star in the United States.
Instead, he will serve as executive producer and judge on “The X Factor,” which will begin filming in 2011 and air on the Fox Network.
While speaking to reporters yesterday, Cowell said he "adores" Paula.
"I will work with her in some capacity, because I miss her," he added.
Sources tell TMZ that the discussions between Cowell and Abdul have been going on for some time, with the most recent meeting taking place last week.
Abdul announced she would not return to “American Idol” after eight seasons as a judge in August of last year. Despite rampant speculation that Abdul was fired, sources close to the singer told FoxNews.com that she was offered a contract and it was her decision to turn it down.
Weeks later, Cowell praised Abdul to FoxNews.com, saying “I will support her in anything she wants to do next. I think she is TV gold, genuinely.”
And now with executive control over “The X Factor,” Cowell might be ready to stand by his pledge to support Abdul by giving her a new job.
Cowell’s announcement, coming just one day before “American Idol” begins its ninth season, was the latest shake up in the show that has seen several changes to its lineup in the last year. Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres will debut Tuesday as the fourth judge, replacing Abdul. Producer Kara DioGuardi joined the judging panel last season to mixed reviews.
But Cowell, with his caustic commentary, has long been seen as the big star of "Idol."
Late last week, fellow judge Randy Jackson said he was skeptical of talk that Cowell would leave his signature show.
"Until I really hear it from him, I'm not going to believe any rumors or believe anything," Jackson told MTV.com Friday. "There's so many rumors and speculation about everything going on."
Fellow judge Kara DioGuardi told FoxNews.com's Pop Tarts before the announcement that it would be difficult to go on without Cowell.
“I really hope that is just a rumor, he’s amazing. I was a fan before I was on the show and I just hope he stays on 'Idol' for as long as it lasts,” she said.
Cowell said it would have been difficult for him to do both shows. While he makes a reported $36 million a year to be on "American Idol," he owns "The X Factor" and could make much more if the show takes off.
"I was offered a lot of money to stay on," Cowell said. "But that wasn't the reason behind it. I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge."
Peter Price, chairman of the Fox Broadcasting Co., would not speculate on possible replacements for Cowell.
"We have to take our time on that," Price said. "We have to make sure the chemistry of the judges is as good as it can be."
Cowell said he didn't want to leave "American Idol" at a time when it was fading in the ratings.
"You want to leave on a high," he said. "I'm very proud of what the show has achieved."
FoxNews.com's Hollie McKay, NewsCore and The Associated Press contributed to this report.