Simon Cowell made a name for himself in the U.S. thanks to his role as the painfully blunt judge on American Idol. Along with Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, he was one of the original triumvirate of judges. Now that American Idol is returning to the small screen for a reboot at ABC, the question on many minds has been whether Cowell could return as a judge. Cowell already ruled out coming back, and he has now come out to explain why he doesn’t want to return, saying this:
I don’t really have any involvement in that show, other than my time spent on it, which is a good memory. I doubt very much I would ever be involved in that show again. The thing about that show was, sometimes you just create magic without realizing you’re creating it, whether it was the producers, the judges, the host, everything just worked. And one by one everybody left and you could feel it coming. It was like because there is not much of a format with Idol… for me Idol is a memory, a great memory at the beginning.
Way back when American Idol first debuted on Fox in 2002, there was nothing else like it. TV reality competition wasn’t yet a hugely successful genre, and viewers didn’t have options on every network to choose from. American Idol was truly a sensation early on, and Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson were immortalized for their contributions. Going by his comments to Deadline, it seems to Cowell is content to leave the past in the past. He has good memories of his times on the show, and he’s plenty busy with other projects. Why not enjoy the memories and move on?
The original crew of judges did stick together for a while on American Idol. It wasn’t until Paula Abdul departed after Season 8 that they split up, and Simon Cowell left after Season 9. Randy Jackson stuck around the longest, not leaving until the end of Season 12. No other judges lasted as long as any of the original three, and the chemistry was never really the same after they went their different ways. The reboot may be better to start totally fresh with brand new judges than by recruiting former judges. ABC does seem keen on bringing back longtime host Ryan Seacrest, although it remains to be seen if there’s room in the post-Katy Perry Budget to work out a deal with him.
For those of us who miss Simon Cowell’s brand of critique in primetime, he can still be found. He’s currently working as judge of America’s Got Talent, which is poised to once again be a major hit of summer network TV. Even if he never returns to American Idol, he’s still around, offering judgment and terrifying contestants. You can catch Cowell in action on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC with new episodes of America’s Got Talent.