×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Simon Cowell Hints at Launch of Online Pan-Regional Talent Show

CANNES — Simon Cowell, whose U.K. version of “The X Factor” has been sold to 147 territories worldwide since April, is mulling a number of new projects, including a pan-regional talent show and a deal for an entertainment show that could involve a streaming service like Netflix.

During an interview with six journalists at TV market Mipcom in Cannes, where he was honored as Personality of the Year on Tuesday, Cowell hinted at the shows he had in development, while keeping his cards close to the chest.

Asked about whether he saw any potential in a pan-regional entertainment format, he responded: “One hundred percent and that is something we have been thinking of for more than three years — a long, long time — and I think it is going to get easier, not harder.”

Asked whether this pan-regional show could be similar to “The Eurovision Song Contest” — in which about 40 countries select a singer or band to represent them with one song each, which then progress through two semi-finals to a final with 10 countries competing — he said: “You’ll have to wait and see.”

He said that an attempt by singing show “Idol” to do a regional show had not been a success. “It was so bad, I think it put everybody off. I think from memory there were something like 11 or 16 judges — I’m not kidding — on that show, so the judging took about half an hour on each act, and every one of them had been put on the show to be the equivalent of me. It was ‘who could be ruder’ each time. It was just a disaster,” he said.

“So the ‘Got Talent’ one would be the most obvious one to start with. We’ll definitely be in that space sooner rather than later,” he said.

Cowell said that his company, Syco Entertainment, was eyeing the possibility of developing a show that would start in the online space and then move to television. “Yes, we have discussed that,” he said. “I can’t give too much away because I have done that in the past and I’ve regretted it, so I have to be a bit careful there.”

He said that an increasing number of reps from the U.S. networks had been in touch with Syco recently to find out what new shows it would launch next, despite Fox’s decision earlier this year to cancel “The X Factor” after three seasons in the States. “We are starting to get more calls now from the major networks to see what we do have next,” he said.

But he added that the next big Syco show may not be on a television network. Asked whether he had been approached by a streaming operator like Netflix to pitch an entertainment format, similar to the deal that Chelsea Handler has inked with Netflix to create a talk-show, he said: “We are going to announce something soon that is going to be a big show and it is not on a cable network, not on a major network, it is somewhere else, and I think it is hopefully a bit of a game changer because the market has suddenly just got bigger, and I think ‘House of Cards’ was part of the reason, because people now have confidence that you don’t have to be a broadcaster to make money on these types of things. Inevitably those kinds of people will want entertainment shows as well,” he said.

“The good thing about them is that we could do a whole show in a week if we wanted to. I love the idea of doing that — or two weeks. You are not dependent upon the network schedule any more,” he said. “The market for our shows at the moment is probably about three times we had two or three years ago.”

Asked about Syco’s development process, he said: “The show that we are going to announce hopefully this month or next month took three years to develop because it sounds like a simple idea, but when you look at it — what each episode would look like — it wasn’t working, so we found another way of doing it.”

More TV

  • O_163_wem_1360_comp_v003_01,1159 2 – L-R: Gwilym Lee

    SAG Award Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises

    At the SAG Awards nominations Wednesday morning, “A Star Is Born” led the film pack with four nods and while that wasn’t a surprise, there were plenty of snubs and surprises that caught us off guard. On the television side, a plethora of co-stars are competing against each other, as both male and female actors [...]

  • Freeform Orders Comedy 'Everything’s Gonna Be

    Freeform Orders Comedy 'Everything’s Gonna Be Okay' From Josh Thomas

    Freeform has given out a series order to the comedy “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” from creator, writer, and comedian Josh Thomas. The network has ordered 10 episodes of the half hour series. Thomas also stars as Nicholas, a neurotic 25-year-old still living at home with his single dad and two teenage half-sisters, one of which has [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    SAG Nominations Scorecard: Netflix Leads the Pack

    Netflix led the way among all networks and studios with this year’s SAG nominations, garnering 15 nods thanks to programming like “GLOW,” “Ozark,” “Grace and Frankie” and “The Kominsky Method.” “Ozark” was among the select group of titles to snare four nominations, along with “A Star Is Born” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” On the [...]

  • SAG Nominations: 'A Star Is Born,'

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Mrs. Maisel,' 'Ozark' Lead SAG Awards Nominations

    Musical drama “A Star Is Born” led the way with four SAG feature film nominations, while “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Ozark” each scored a quartet of TV nominations. “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Favourite” both took a trio of film nominations, followed by “Barry,” “GLOW,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Kominsky Method,” each scoring three TV [...]

  • Marvelous Ms Maisel

    SAG Award Nominations: Complete List

    Nominations for the 25th annual SAG Awards were announced on Wednesday. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” led film nominations with four nods, including best actor for Cooper, best actress for Gaga, best ensemble, and best supporting actor for Sam Elliot. “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Favourite” followed close behind, both taking home a [...]

  • European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe VestagerSlush

    Liberty Global, Vodafone's $22 Billion Cable Deal Under Investigation by EU

    The European Commission has started an in-depth probe into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of a raft of Liberty Global assets in Europe. The commission cited concerns that the deal could reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic. “It’s important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services,” Commissioner [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    How to Watch the SAG Awards Nominations Live

    Awkwafina and Laverne Cox will announce the nominees for the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif. Beginning 10 a.m. ET/PT, the nominations will be carried live on TNT, TBS, and truTV. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris will introduce Awkwafina and Cox. Prior to that announcement, SAG Awards [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content