As the LA Time Story indicated was likely this morning, at today's TCA session with FOX executives Simon Cowell confirmed that he will definitely leave American Idol after this season and that FOX has picked up the US rights to The X Factor for a fall 2011 premiere.
First Paula, now Simon. American Idol is going to have a very different look in its 2011 season! Will Paula join Simon on X Factor? (update, this came up at the TCAs, Simon replied, ""I adore Paula. Whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity. Because I miss her.").
Simon will be walking away from a lot of money as and American Idol judge, but Idol isn't a show he produces and The X Factor is, so he stands to do well financially and be his own boss.
Fox's Peter Rice said that Simon is irreplaceable - yet they will replace him anyway. FOX is committed to doing another three seasons of Idol beyond this season. "People love the format and we have to find a way to keep that energy going," Rice said.