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Is Simon Cowell Leaving 'American Idol'?

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Dec. 24 2009, Published 2:17 p.m. ET

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Simon Cowell's brother says the next season of American Idol will be the judge's last.

Tony Cowell said in his weekly podcast, "The Cowell Factor," that a statement was being prepared that would confirm that the acerbic British judge was leaving the popular Fox signing competition at the end of 2010, reports The Associated Press.

Simon will concentrate on bringing his popular U.K. talent show The X Factor to the U.S. next year, his brother said on the Saturday podcast, which has since been removed.

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"Meanwhile, Simon prepares for a new season of Idol, or should I say, his last season of Idol," his older brother said.

"A press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everybody expected: Simon will leave Idol at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of X Factor to U.S. TV in 2011."

Simon's contract ends after the upcoming ninth season, which begins Jan. 12. The judging panel was shaken up by the departure of pop star Paula Abdul, who is being replaced next season by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

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A Fox spokeswoman had no comment about the report. Messages left for Simon's spokesman were not immediately returned.

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