NEW YORK – Simon Cowell will be insulting prospective singers on "American Idol" for several years to come.
Fox announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal that keeps the insult-wielding talent show judge on television's most popular show for at least five more seasons. His contract had been due to expire at the end of the season that starts in January.
The announcement comes with the settlement of a lawsuit against Cowell by fellow British pop impresario Simon Fuller. The lawsuit was reportedly a stumbling block in Fox being able to reach a deal to keep Cowell on "American Idol."
A spokeswoman for Fremantle Media, which distributes "American Idol" and produces Cowell's new show, "X-Factor," confirmed the case had been settled out of court, but refused to give details. She said both sides were happy with the outcome.
Fox would not comment Tuesday on reports that it was considering moving one of the two weekly editions of "American Idol" to Thursday night.
In his copyright infringement lawsuit, Fuller had claimed that Cowell had copied the format of "Pop Idol" — the British version that predated the U.S. version of "American Idol" — for "X-Factor."
The deal announced Tuesday extends Fox's partnership with "American Idol" producers 19 Entertainment Ltd., Fuller's company.
"I'm delighted to be committing to a further run with Fox in the States," Fuller said. "Simon Cowell is a key component of the incredible success of `American Idol,' and I'm delighted that we'll continue working as a team with FremantleMedia and Fox."
Cowell said his job as on-air judge is a personal thrill, and that he's happy to be working with "my good friend Simon Fuller."