People Staff
January 11, 2010 12:00 AM

First Paula, now Simon.

At the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., American Idol judge Simon Cowell announced that he is leaving the show to focus on a new talent search, The X Factor.

The X Factor will launch in 2011,” Cowell told reporters Monday. “Because of that, this will be my last season on American Idol.”

Cowell, who launched The X Factor in the U.K., will serve as the executive producer and judge of the American version, according to a press release from FOX.

“I’m thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the U.S. version of The X Factor, and delighted to be continuing to work with FOX,” Cowell said in a statement. “We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this.”

Paula Abdul, the first American Idol judge to leave the show, announced her departure with a tweet last August. She has been replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.

As for whether Abdul could be a judge on the new show, Cowell said, “I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity. Because I miss her.”

Season 9 of American Idol premieres Tuesday (8 p.m. EST) on FOX.

Tell us: Will you watch American Idol without Simon Cowell? Will you watch The X Factor?

Kevin Winter/Getty

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