Stephen M. Silverman
July 16, 2003 01:00 PM

Now it’s time for Simon Cowell to face the critics — book reviewers, that is.

The achingly arch “American Idol” judge, 43, has signed a $2 million contract with Random House for a book about the hit TV talent show. The deal was struck about a week ago, shortly after Cowell agreed to return for an upcoming third edition of FOX’s popular talent hunt, his agent tells Reuters.

The new season of “Idol” is due to premiere in January, and Cowell is reportedly being paid $150,000 per episode and is being allowed to develop new projects with his own newly formed production company. (Last week, CBS unveiled Cowell’s reality dating show “Cupid,” which he created and is executive producing).

As for his literary endeavor, the book, to be titled “I Don’t Mean to be Rude, But … ,” is set to be published Dec. 2 in the United States and Canada by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group under the Random House division of Bertelsmann AG.

Cowell will not be hitting the keyboard alone. His collaborator n the tome will be his older brother, British journalist Tony Cowell.

As for contents, besides insights into the birth of “AI,” the book also will chronicle the British-born Cowell’s 25-year career as a manager and executive in the recording industry and offer practical tips for making it big in the music business, according to Cowell’s literary agent, Luke Janklow.

Like Cowell, “His book will be wicked and witty but it will also be very helpful to those millions of ‘American Idol’ viewers who hope to be stars and want to know how to accomplish their dreams,” Doubleday Broadway editor-in-chief William Thomas said in a statement.

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