ITV is extending its relationship with Simon Cowell for another three years. The British network has pacted with Cowell and Sony’s Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia UK to keep reality competition series The X Factor UK and Britain’s Got Talent on the air through the end of 2016. Britain’s Got Talent will return to ITV next spring for an eighth series. The 11th series of The X Factor will air in the fall. The renewals had been expected, although there has been some question as to Cowell’s involvement with The X Factor going forward. The 10th series of the show is currently airing with judges Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Gary Barlow and a consolidated average of about 10M viewers. It was earlier suggested that ITV was urging Cowell to return to X Factor to help goose ratings after last December’s finale hit a six-year low. While he is expected to make special appearances during the series’ runs, a full-time return is still a question mark. He left the show in 2010 to concentrate on the Fox version in the U.S. The two air at essentially the same time of year, meaning doing both would be a stretch. But with the U.S. version faring poorly this season and facing the danger of cancellation, Cowell could potentially become …
FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell and Sony’s Syco Entertainment are launching one-stop-shop YouTube channels for the Got Talent and X Factor franchises. Although the various versions around the world — 55 for Got Talent and 25 for X Factor — have their own dedicated channels, the new outlets will draw fans to a single destination for the first time. That’s eyed as a big opportunity for brands to target a massive worldwide audience in one place. Each channel will curate viral clips from the local shows, which Fremantle and Syco say number in the billions of views per year. The companies will also produce original content including spinoffs and roundups. Here’s a teaser:
FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment are hitting a milestone with the latest local adaptation of their Got Talent format. In what the companies claim is a record for a talent show, the franchise will launch its 55th version in Afghanistan in the fall. Afghanistan’s Got Talent will air on 1TV Media, a privately-owned commercial station based in Kabul. It’s understood that Afghan stars will make up the judging panel, but a UK media report suggests that foreign military troops serving in the area may be eligible to audition. Per Fremantle and Syco, further local Got Talent iterations are on the way. Got Talent Brasil and Kazakhstan’s Got Talent are among recent launches. In the UK, Britain’s Got Talent is coming off a strong season 7 and the U.S.’ America’s Got Talent is in its 8th go-round. That version has been sold to 180 countries.
Simon Cowell is adding another stream to his talent scouting business. Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, is hooking up with YouTube to launch global online talent contest, The You Generation. The contest opens to the public March 20 and will run for one year in an experiment aimed at discovering new talent. Entries are solicited from people with “unconventional and original talents” including musicians, photographers, makeup artists, magicians and chefs, Syco said. Wannabes will upload their videos to the You Generation YouTube channel in a different category every two weeks. They’ll then be judged by “professionals associated with Syco.” Prizes will be awarded every two weeks – though it’s not clear yet what the prizes will be – and there will be a grand prize at the end. The contest is available in 15 languages and 26 countries. Cowell’s already juggling the X Factor and Got Talent shows in the U.S. and the UK where he’s returning to judge Britain’s Got Talent‘s seventh season that kicks off in the spring. Click over for The You Generation promo in which Cowell freaks the hell out of some early contestants:
Creating a new pipeline for Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, Over the Top Productions will develop “innovative, niche TV productions to bring more new TV shows to market.” Syco global head of television, Nigel Hall, who helped develop The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, will run the new arm out of London. Hall said the group is “already in advanced talks with broadcasters over new formats.” Charles Garland, global CEO of Syco, added, “This is an exciting next step for Syco Entertainment in our expansion plans and reflects our commitment to fostering creativity.” Syco also said it will continue to expand through new ventures and make key appointments this year in the UK and the U.S. It’s currently working on projects that include TV series Food Glorious Food and the features One Chance, based on BGT‘s first winner Paul Potts and in association with The Weinstein Co., and Sony’s 3D concert movie with boy band One Direction that’s being directed by Morgan Spurlock.
Recently filed financial documents for Simco, the TV production arm of Simon Cowell and Sony Music’s Syco Entertainment, show pre-tax profits more than doubled to £32.6M ($52.2M) for the year ended March 31 2012. The 138% increase was largely spurred by the launch of The X Factor in the U.S., the filing said, according to UK trade Broadcast. Turnover at the division was £54.7M with the U.S. repping £22.93M of the whole, up from just £3.21M in 2011. In the UK, the company reported revenues of £26.7M, up from £21.7M a year earlier. The X Factor recently completed its second season on Fox in the U.S., with a third to come, while the British version is embarking on its tenth series this year. That show is facing declines in the UK with its December finale hitting a 6-year low. Execs are mulling changes for the next edition of the singing competition whose contract is up with Britain’s ITV at the end of the tenth run. Simco also produces the Got Talent format franchise and Cowell is returning to the UK as a judge for the upcoming seventh season of Britain’s Got Talent which scored big ratings for its finale last May. Its contract is also up at the end of the next season and Simco suits are expected to enter negotiations on the future …
Tuesday 1st May 2012 – ITV Studios UK is delighted to announce that award-winning programme-maker, Shu Greene, currently Head of Television at Syco TV and producer and creator of some of the biggest shows on UK and US television, is joining ITV Studios UK in the newly-created role of Director of Entertainment, ITVS.
Returning to her original TV home, Shu will lead the entertainment team to create and deliver great entertainment programming for both ITV and non-ITV channels, spearheading ITV Studios’ ambition to be the home for the best talent both on-screen, in development and production.
Formerly the COO, his role will now include leadership of Syco’s global TV business.
Charles joined Syco in March 2011 from Crystal Entertainment, the company he founded in 2007 and served as Chief Executive. He previously served at 19 Entertainment for 8 years, helping to build up its key brands globally. Before that he worked at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) as Group Development Director, working with brands including Audi, Natwest and BT, and where he was responsible for building the agency’s international operations, which involved launching offices in Asia and the US.
Simon Cowell’s SYCO ENTERTAINMENT has partnered with Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith’s OVERBROOK ENTERTAINMENT on the development and launch of a live, new international TV format to find the world’s greatest DJs.
This new format has already been developed and will be co-produced by SYCO and OVERBROOK. The show will capture the incredible rise of the DJ phenomena. It has been in development for over a year and SYCO, OE and Sony Pictures Television will soon announce their broadcast partners in both the US and the UK.
Curious that the press release (below) doesn’t explicitly say that Azoff is chairman of Live Nation Entertainment — the parent of Ticketmaster and the No. 1 owner of concert venues.
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 4, 2011 — Front Line Management and Syco Entertainment today announced a partnership which will see the future winning artist or group of the U.S. version of The X Factor managed by Front Line Management, the world’s leading artist management group.
Front Line, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, manages the careers of some of the world’s biggest-selling artists, including The Eagles, Miley Cyrus, Journey, New Kids on The Block, Christina Aguilera and Fleetwood Mac.
While he continues to do his tedious fan dance as to who will judge the U.S. X Factor, Simon Cowell has reportedly told Brit broadcaster ITV that he will not be judging this year’s home-grown version. According to the Daily Mail, Cowell has dropped out because of health fears. Coping with running two X Factors on either side of the Atlantic, as well as producing both versions of Got Talent and ITV’s new game show Red Or Black, is too much –- even for the famously workaholic Cowell apparently. ITV mainstay presenters Ant ‘n’ Dec will host Cowell’s new game show, which begins filming in June for a September premiere. Even Cowell’s mother Julie has told him to slow down in case the 51-year-old has a heart attack. Syco tells me that “everything is still being discussed.” Reps for co-producer Talkback Thames and ITV declined to comment on the Mail story, describing it as “speculation.” But one insider tells me that you just have to look at how much overlap there will be between the runs of the Fox and ITV versions to see that it is just not humanly possible, even if Cowell only does the live shows in the U.K. and gets a private plane from ITV to shuttle him between Los Angeles and London every week. The U.S. and UK versions of X Factor both start airing in August and reach their finales at Christmas. …
I’m told that ITV is still discussing this 3rd show with Syco, which it plans to make after X Factor launches in the U.S. next Fall. The broadcaster hasn’t said yes to it yet. But Ellis Watson, managing director of Simon Cowell’s UK production company Syco, says the next show after Got Talent and X Factor won’t be a talent search. And it will almost certainly be made first by RTL’s production company FremantleMedia
UPDATE: Simon Cowell has confirmed he may not do next year’s X Factor for ITV. He is still undecided as he wants to concentrate on the US version. His final decision will be made in a few more weeks. Cowell said: “At the moment you are going to see me doing one show next year – and not one in England.” Cowell told the Daily Star that the launch of US X Factor could leave him no time to do X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
PREVIOUS: ITV bosses have been quietly looking for shows to replace its Saturday night ratings juggernaut next year. Cowell and his Syco production company are concentrating on next year’s Fox launch. X Factor’s disappearance until autumn 2012 would blow a hole in ITV’s ratings. This weekend the show celebrated its highest ratings of the series yet – peaking with 12.5 million watching. Saturday’s show was watched by an average 10.6 million UK viewers — compared with 9.8 million the week before. Last year’s X Factor contributed an estimated £100 million in ITV ad revenue. A single 30 second spot during last year’s pre-Christmas finale cost advertisers £250,000. It was thought Cowell would juggle his time between Britain and America, perhaps splitting the 2011 UK show in two parts straddling Christmas. All ITV and X Factor producers Talkback Thames and Syco will tell me is that …
The UK show’s bosses are debating whether to drop a contestant from this season’s first episode after it emerged she already has a record contract in the U.S. Katie Waissel, 24, sailed through to the next round after Saturday night’s opening show, not telling producers Syco and Talkback Thames that she already has a two-record deal on a jazz label.
Simon Cowell, meanwhile, has banned performance-enhancing software from edited pre-recorded auditions. The X Factor has become embroiled in what newspapers are gleefully calling “the TV scandal of the year”. Cowell is anxious to shore up the talent show’s reputation before it transfers to the U.S. in Fall 2011. Viewers have complained to UK regulator Ofcom about Zimbabwean-born contestant Gamu Nhengu having her voice tweaked with Auto-Tune. Before this scandal, Nhengu was tipped as a potential winner. Programme-makers have admitted using Auto-Tune to help contestants when they sing sharp. Worse, it has emerged the software is also used to make no-hopers sound worse. “The integrity of the show is very important to him [Cowell] and so he told production that Auto-Tune cannot be used again,” one source told the Daily Mirror.
Syco has stressed that Auto-Tuning is never used in the live editions of the show, where votes are cast. “If anybody could prove that Auto-Tuning is used in the live shows, then they have a real problem,” one …