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. Cowell would have to be in two places at the same time for much of the week, I’m told. Deadline revealed last September that Cowell’s focus on the U.S version of X Factor had created “a ticking time bomb” for ITV chiefs. Of the other X Factor judges, also not confirmed to return is Cheryl Cole, increasing speculation that she would join Cowell on the Fox version of the show.
UPDATE: Susan Boyle’s famous audition for Britain’s Got Talent was digitally tweaked, according to a show insider. The Evening Standard quotes an anonymous source saying that the show’s production team — which is the same as The X Factor — smoothed out the Scottish singer’s voice in post-production.