There were many doubts with AMERICAN IDOL going into Season 10 that it wouldn’t thrive and survive without iconic judge Simon Cowell at the helm. Yet, with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez joining Randy Jackson, the show has been an even bigger player than last year.

That said, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice says the plan was never to replace him and his personality on IDOL, but rather save his iconic personality for his own singing reality competition series THE X FACTOR which will be airing in the Fall and featuring new judges Cheryl Cole, L.A. Reid and former IDOL cohort Paula Abdul.

“We didn’t work hard to replace him, we knew he would be coming back in fall,” says Rice. “The perspective Simon brings is unique and you don’t see it anywhere else. We made sure we didn’t try to mimic that [on IDOL]. Simon is a unique TV personality.”

Rice adds that the recent taping of the first round of auditions in Los Angeles for THE X FACTOR cemented his reputation and following especially since 5,000 people showed up, something Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly notes that “normally you have to recruit for that.”

“Within five minutes of taping the [new] show, the audience was right there with him again and it was fun seeing him back,” says Rice. “It’s going to be refreshing to have him back. There is an excitement and buzz for the show.”

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