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ITV, Simon Cowell reup U.K. deal

Pact covers 'X Factor,' 'Got Talent'

LONDON — ITV has agreed a new three-year deal for its two biggest entertainment shows, “The X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent,” with Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia.

The web declined to comment on speculation that the agreement, which also gives ITV exclusive U.K. rights to the U.S. version of “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent,” is worth £20 million ($31 million) to Cowell.

The move means that “Britain’s Got Talent” will return to ITV1 in late-spring 2011 and “The X Factor” next fall.

Cowell said: “I am thrilled this deal has been concluded with ITV to enable our relationship to continue to develop. I am committed to making sure both shows get bigger and better every year.

“I have a lot to thank ITV for. They have been key in making ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ the U.K.’s biggest television shows.”

Added ITV’s director of television Peter Fincham: “‘The X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ are the shows that have helped define the last decade of television in the U.K. and have become more than just a talking point: they are a national obsession, and I’m delighted that our viewers can continue to enjoy them on ITV over the next three years.

“The X Factor,” which will finally bow in the U.S. next year, continues to power ahead in Blighty. Its current seventh season looks set to be the most popular to date. ITV said that almost 17 million viewers watched the second “Judges’ Houses” show, and Monday’s second live results show peaked at 15.2 million, the highest ever at this stage of the competish.

Such fare may be popular but seasoned Brit rock star Elton John is not a fan.

Interviewed by the BBC TV listings magazine, Radio Times, he said: “I’m not a fan of talent shows. I probably wouldn’t have lasted if I’d gone on one.”

John claimed shows such as ” The X Factor” had zilch to do with music: “I don’t want to be on television. It’s become boring, arse-paralyzingly brain-crippling. I like Simon Cowell, but what he does is TV entertainment. TV vaults you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard.”

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