Simon Cowell
United Kingdom

SYCO Entertainment


Chairman / CEO

He’s best known for his on-air work, but Simon Cowell has an equally impressive resume behind the cameras.

The talent competition show “America’s Got Talent,” which he created through his company Syco Entertainment, has run on NBC for 11 seasons. It airs in 193 countries and has spawned the most international spinoffs of any reality show in history. Original versions of the format are produced in 69 territories.

Cowell also created another talent show format, “The X Factor,” which is produced in 56 territories and airs in 168 countries. He is a judge on the U.K. versions of both “Got Talent” and “The X Factor.”

Cowell’s career started in the mailroom at EMI Music in 1979. He later started his own music label, and became a leading A&R exec, helping to launch the careers of bands like Westlife. He rose to global prominence in 2002 as the face of Fox’s “American Idol,” where his trademark blend of charm and sarcasm established him as a popular culture icon. He set up Syco in the same year as a joint venture with Sony Music.

Cowell left “American Idol” in 2010 to launch “The X Factor” on Fox in the U.S., which was canceled after three seasons. He returned to U.S. TV screens in 2016 on “America’s Got Talent.” Musical acts to come out of Cowell’s series include One Direction, Susan Boyle, Il Divo, and Little Mix.

Cowell has continued to expand the scope of his company, including a move into movie production. Films have included documentary “This Is Us,” about One Direction, and “One Chance,” starring James Corden. Syco is developing a Betty Boop animated film with Animal Logic, and “A Life in the Day,” based on the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein.


  • SYCO Entertainment

Variety Honors

  • Reality TV Impact
  • UK Personality of the Year

News from Variety

Simon Cowell Comedy 'A&R' in the Works at NBC (EXCLUSIVE)

Simon Cowell Comedy 'A&R' in the Works at NBC (EXCLUSIVE)

Simon Cowell is executive producing music-industry scripted comedy "A&R" for NBC, Variety has learned.The network purchased a script for the Universal Television-produced project, which tells the story of a young, hip music label, along with its young, hip boss, is thrown into disarray when the owner brings back a hard-partying, middle-aged "mastodon" from the industry's past to help guide them into the future."A&R" is the first scripted sale of the season for Cowell's production company Syco. The show is being...


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