Cowell back in saddle for more ‘Idol’ chatter

Judge to produce single from skein's winner

The nasty Brit that American viewers love to hate is coming back for another season of “American Idol.”

Fox is close to inking a deal with record producer-nasty judge Simon Cowell for a second season of the hit reality skein. While net execs have always been confident Cowell would be back (Daily Variety, July 19), Cowell’s decision earlier this year to sign with Creative Artists Agency led to speculation that he might hold out for an outrageous sum.

Signing Cowell is a major boost to “Idol 2,” which is set to bow in winter on Fox. While viewers have been tuning in recently to root for their fave performers, during the early weeks of “Idol” it was the often-caustic judgments of Cowell that hooked auds.

Cowell is producing the first single from the “Idol” winner, who will be crowned tonight during a live broadcast from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. In addition to repping Cowell, CAA also packaged “Idol,” giving the tenpercentery an added incentive to sign him for another season.

There’s no word yet on whether fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson will return for “Idol 2.” Terms of Cowell’s deal also weren’t immediately available, but it’s expected he’ll snag a major raise.

Execs at CAA and Fox were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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