Is Simon Quitting Idol?

America may have got British talent—Simon Cowell—but maybe not for long? Cowell indicated in an interview with The Daily Mirror this month that he would leave American Idol when his contract expires after next season. On his current schedule, Cowell finishes with a live show of Idol on Wednesday night, flies to London on Thursday, tapes Britain’s Got Talent on Friday, and must be back in the US for Idol by Tuesday. Fox currently pays Cowell an estimated $36 million a year. Of course, the question of his departure puts the whole future of America’s most popular show in jeopardy. “I think it would be catastrophic for the show, particularly since it is beginning to show signs of viewer fatigue this season,” says one media researcher. A departure from Idol, however, wouldn’t necessarily erase Cowell from American airwaves: Cowell also hosts, in addition to Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, which he could license in America once his Idol contract expires.