Au Revoir Simon: Cowell Leaving American Idol to Launch X Factor

As if your variety-programming universe wasn't rocked enough this week, manboob-flattering sweater aficionado Simon Cowell announced to a roomful of TCA reporters just minutes ago that "this will be my last season on American Idol." (Pause to commit karaokecide with the straw-end of a plastic Coca Cola cup.) His aura will still linger at Fox, however, as a U.S. version of his solely-owned The X-Factor will premiere in 2011.

Idol watcher Richard Rushfield at The Daily Beast says Cowell has just walked away from "what may be the most lucrative job in the history of television...But...he seems to have decided that all the money in the world is not worth it if the name on the door is not yours and yours alone." (Some estimates had it at $75 million annually. We let you know our true feelings about that.) Fox, meanwhile, plans to run both series concurrently, but Simon, while he told reporters he was "confident Idol will continue to be the #1 show," is nonetheless planning to snuff the series out of existence just as he did to the U.K.'s American Idol precursor, Pop Idol.

But who shall replace Simon on Idol? Stay tuned.

· Why Simon Is Quitting Idol [Daily Beast]

· Fox gets 'X-Factor,' Cowell quitting 'Idol' [THR]