Yesterday we reported that Cheryl Cole had been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger as a judge on FOX’s upcoming singing competition show, The X Factor. Everything in the piece itself was accurate however our headline, “The X Factor: Cheryl Cole OUT! Simon Cowell Says ‘Too British Sounding.’ Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger IN!,” was not. Simon Cowell had nothing to do with Cole’s departure and did not suggest that her accent was too thick for American audiences and in fact it’s been reported that he fought desperately to save her.
The Hollywood Reporteris citing sources who claim that the decision was a decision by the network itself and the accent issue was theirs alone. Prior reports implied that it was show producers that had the issue with her accent and were responsible for the decision to replace her. Since Simon Cowell is the main producer of this show, we assumed that these were his sentiments and that this was his decision. This obviously was a mistake.
We have also issued the retraction made the correction on the original piece.
We reported two weeks ago that Paula Abdul had signed on as a judge alongside her former American Idol co-judge, Simon Cowell on his highly anticipated singing competition show, The X Factor, along with Cheryl Cole and L.A. Reid. TMZ is reporting that Cheryl Cole, who was a judge on the U.K. version of the show, has been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger citing concerns over American audiences having difficulty understanding her because of her thick British accent and a lack of chemistry with Abdul. Producers now want Cole to return to the U.K. version of the show but sources say that she is so angry about how the situation was handled that she may sever ties with the franchise entirely. We doubt it. We wouldn’t even know who she was if not for this so she needs all of the exposure she can get.
We look at this two ways: first how bad could her accent possibly be? If American audiences can sit through Ewan MacGregor’s Scottish brogue in Trainspotting:
… then we can certainly handle this:
Now of course, the best part of the clip above is that if you listen closely, she pauses in the middle of that to squeak out a little fart. G’head… go back and play it again, we’ll wait.
See, we told you.
Now aside from the obvious issues of farting on the air and how that probably isn’t something that will be embraced by American audiences (except us), the ultimate irony here is that Simon Cowell is concerned that American audiences aren’t going to be able to understand My-Fair-Lady/the-rain-in-Spain-falls-mainly-on-the-plain up there but he doesn’t have any concerns about two or three nights per week of this in primetime:
Steve Jones: Limey Stud
Obviously, though, if the other issue was chemistry with Abdul, it was simply a no-brainer that Cole would be the expendable judge. Scherzinger was originally cast to co-host the show with Steve Jones but now with the move, he’ll be doing it alone. Don’t feel bad folks, we don’t know who he is either however, apparently he’s quite popular in the U.K. and in order to get this gig he had to initially promise not to nail his fellow co-stars and no, we aren’t kidding. Just for that alone he gets our endorsement. But seriously, how hard can it be? Seacrest has been doing it for a decade and he hosts a daily radio show and that dopey show on E!
EDITOR’S NOTE – RETRACTION: Our headline, “The X Factor: Cheryl Cole OUT! Simon Cowell Says ‘Too British Sounding.’ Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger IN!,” was not correct. Cowell had nothing to do with Cole’s departure and did not suggest that her accent was too thick for American audiences and in fact it’s been reported that he fought desperately to save her.
The Hollywood Reporter is citing sources who claim that the decision was a decision by the network itself and the accent issue was theirs alone. Prior reports implied that it was show producers that had the issue with her accent and were responsible for the decision to replace her. Cowell is the main producer of this show, we assumed that these were his sentiments and that this was his decision. This obviously was a mistake.
If you’re anything like us, you freely admit that the only reason you turned into American Idol for as long as you did was because of Simon Cowell and it wasn’t just for how brutal he was to the first round contestants. Despite Cowell’s dry and sometimes cruel wit, he was generally the only one on that panel who could relay any particular insight to the audience regarding the music industry itself and at the end of the day you had more faith in his opinion than anyone else on the judge’s panel. This is not take anything away from the other judges and guest judges that have graced AI over the years, but Cowell truly brought a sense of balance to the Force and if you’ve watched recently, even if you are still a fan, you can’t help but to admit that it’s become kind of a disjointed mess since his departure. Honestly, does anyone take Steven Tyler seriously at all?
Now if you’re still being honest, even if you hate to admit it, Paula Abdul certainly had her place on that panel and even when she left it was like we lost a part of the family. Between her obnoxious over-the-top praising, soft-peddling, sometimes inebriated commentary and the banter between her and Cowell, it made for good television. So when we heard a couple of months ago from the T-Shirt himself that he would love to get Paula back on his new talent show, The X-Factor, and that he was actively courting her, we were excited about the prospect of two-thirds of the old team getting back together albeit skeptical at the possibility because, let’s be honest, how often do these situations pan out? But then again… this is Simon “King Midas” Cowell we’re talking about, as well.
So without further adieu it gives us great pleasure to announce that Paula Abdul has indeed signed on as a judge on TXF along with Cowell, Cheryl Cole, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid. This is not only going to be great fun for fans but this is very good for FOX broadcasting as it will increase the advertising value of this show even more than we already had expected.
Why should we care about that? It’s simple: the more money TXF makes, the more money FOX has to justify keeping lower rated, critically acclaimed scripted programming and it also acts as great lead-ins for the scripted shows as well, putting more eyes on them. You like your shows like Lie To Me, Human Target, Breaking In and The Chicago Code? Then, even if you don’t have any interest in reality show talent competitions you need to be rooting for TXF to make as much money as possible.
JOINS CHERYL COLE, ANTONIO “L.A.” REID AND SIMON COWELL
ON “The X Factor” JUDGES PANEL
Auditions Continue in Dallas on Thursday, May 26
Singers and Vocal Groups Age 12 and Over Eligible to Audition
For Chance to Win a $5 Million Syco/Sony Music Recording Contract
America’s sweetheart, world-renowned choreographer and pop icon Paula Abdul will join Cheryl Cole, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on The X Factor, the highly anticipated singing competition series debuting this fall on FOX. Abdul, who sat alongside Cowell for eight seasons as a judge on American Idol, has worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. Abdul will join Cole, Cowell, and Reid as they travel to The X Factor audition cities searching for the next global superstar or breakout music group.
“This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this – I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show,” said Simon Cowell.
“I am excited beyond words to be a part of The X Factor. I couldn’t be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show,” said Paula Abdul. “I’m looking forward to being back with the FOX/FremantleMedia family and know that it will be an extraordinary journey — we’re going to have a blast. I’m also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again…but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!”
“Paula is not only the lovely, nurturing person that America fell in love with, but she’s also one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever seen — which makes her a perfect fit to judge The X Factor,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “Paula and Simon have undeniable chemistry, and together with L.A. Reid and Cheryl Cole, I think we’ve put together an incredibly entertaining judges’ panel.”
“I’m thrilled to be working with Paula again,” says executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “A consummate entertainer in her own right, she has an extraordinary talent and generosity for nurturing performers — and her chemistry with Simon Cowell is like no other. I especially look forward to seeing her signature sensibilities in action during our mentoring rounds!”
Auditions continue in Dallas, TX, on Thursday, May 26.
The X Factor is searching for undiscovered talent 12 years old or over – both solo artists and vocal groups – who are willing to brave the panel for a chance to win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music. Interested solo artists and vocal groups should sign up now for audition information at www.fox.com/theXfactor or call toll-free 855-345-5678.
In a departure from other singing competition series, the first time contestants audition for The X Factor judges, they will do so in front of an audience of thousands – raising the stakes and increasing the pressure to impress not only the judges, but also a potential legion of fans. This will be the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence that it takes to win an unprecedented $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.
As previously announced, Pepsi will serve as an official sponsor of The X Factor. The comprehensive sponsorship includes an extensive, multi-platform off-air marketing partnership; weekly in-show integrations and placements; and an immersive content experience online.
The X Factor is produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America. Simon Cowell, Rob Wade and Siobhan Greene are executive producers for Syco Television. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Richard Holloway and Andrew Llinares serve as executive producers for FremantleMedia North America.
About Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul is one of the most-recognized pop singers and choreographers in film, television, video, stage and live tours. Her celebrated work in choreography includes Emmy-winning contributions to “The Tracey Ullman Show” and Emmy-nominated choreography for the Academy Awards, as well as Abdul’s own performance on “The American Music Awards.” Other triumphs include her award-winning work with Janet Jackson, which garnered two MTV Video Awards; and working with such music legends as Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Luther Vandross, INXS, Heart and Prince. Abdul’s favorite memory is dancing alongside her idol, Gene Kelly, in a celebrated and acclaimed commercial campaign. Abdul’s choreography contributions in feature films include the Academy Award-winning “American Beauty,” working with Cuba Gooding Jr. on his Academy Award-winning performance in “Jerry Maguire” and transforming Val Kilmer into Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors.” Abdul’s music career encompasses worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. She has also been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Hall of Fame. Abdul served as a judge alongside Simon Cowell for eight seasons on the hit series American Idol. An acclaimed jewelry designer, Abdul introduced her Paula Abdul Jewelry Collection on QVC to record-breaking sales. The collection consists of charms, pendants, earrings and bracelets in a mix of textures and metals, adorned with meaningful phrases. Abdul, who got her first break as a Los Angeles Laker Girl, continues to honor her roots by running dance and cheerleading camps, competitions and scholarship programs throughout the country.
About “The X Factor”
Since its debut in 2004, “The X Factor” has remained the U.K.’s #1 program for the last seven years, peaking with an audience of 21 million with 65% audience share for its 2010 finale. The format swiftly broke similar records around the world, where local versions have consistently rated #1 in 15 territories, with a worldwide audience now well over 100 million. In Denmark, it has ranked #1 for the last four years, peaking with an 80% share of the audience. In Colombia, it has consistently ranked #1 with a 75% share of the audience. Additionally, “The X Factor” consistently delivers a 50% to 65% share of the viewing audiences in Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, France and Italy – with the highest percentage of these shares in A15-34. In some markets, “The X Factor” has increased the channel average demographic by up to 250%. The series has received numerous honors worldwide, including three BAFTA awards, numerous NTA awards and the coveted Rose d’Or. In the U.K., an unprecedented 1.5 million iTunes downloads were made from “The X Factor” contestant performances in 2010. Globally, more than 100 million records have been sold by artists launched through the series, including over 90 #1 singles and albums and 150 Top Ten records.
About Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a current roster that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. It is home to premier record labels representing music from every genre, including American Recordings, Arista Nashville, Arista Records, Battery Records, Beach Street Records, BNA Records, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Day 1, Epic Records, Essential Records, Flicker Records, J Records, Jive Records, LaFace Records, Legacy Recordings, MASTERWORKS, Polo Grounds, RCA Records, RCA Nashville, RCA Red Seal, RCA Victor, Reunion Records, Roc Nation, Sony Classical, Sony Music Latin, Star Time International, Verity Gospel Music Group, and Volcano Entertainment. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.
About Syco/Simon Cowell
Syco, with offices in London and Los Angeles, is a global music, television and film production joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment. Syco Television owns and produces the BAFTA Award-winning “The X Factor,” which has topped the charts around the world. Syco Television is also the owner of the “Got Talent” television format. Versions of both “The X Factor” and “Got Talent” are co-produced by Syco, and are shown in more than 70 countries and have won multiple awards including national television awards and BAFTAs. The X Factor launches in America on FOX in Fall 2011 with Cowell as a judge. Syco is also the record label home for such diverse international recording stars as Leona Lewis and Il Divo. Cowell has worked with artists selling more than 200 million albums and delivering more than 180 No. 1 records. Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 launched the global singing career of Susan Boyle. Her debut Syco album sold over 8 million units in six weeks, making it the world’s biggest-selling album of 2009 and the fastest-selling album in history and a total of 20 million records to date. In 2009, Cowell was named No. 1 in Hollywood Reporter’s Top 50 Most Powerful in Reality TV and Entertainment Weekly’s Top Entertainer of the Year. In 2010 Simon Cowell was awarded Variety International’s Humanitarian Award for his extensive charitable work, The Rose d’Or Golden Jubilee Award and BAFTA’s Special Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry and development of new talent. He also appeared on Time Magazine’s list of Most Influential People in the World and was awarded the International Emmy Founders Award.
About FremantleMedia North America
FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is the U.S. production division of global media giant FremantleMedia. Based in Burbank, California, FMNA produces entertaining and innovative programs for network, cable, syndicated and online platforms, including the Emmy-nominated musical/reality phenomenon American Idol (FOX), “America’s Got Talent” (NBC), “What Chilli Wants” (VH1), “Hole In The Wall” (Cartoon Network), “Jump City: Seattle” (G4), “Let’s Make A Deal” (CBS), “Family Feud” (syn), “The Price Is Right” (CBS) and the much-anticipated The X Factor in Fall 2011.
The Event is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his would-be fiancée Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.
Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia Maguire (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Leila’s shadowy father (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. – NBC
Shawn: This is by far the most anticipated show of the new year and for good reason. It’s a spy/action/political thriller à la 24 shown from multiple perspectives with a Lost-type/FlashForward-type mystery to it. The cast is amazing and the effects look killer. This is one of those moral imperative shows. You must watch this. I’d comment more on it but the trailer confused the crap out of me and I still haven’t processed all of it.
9 out of 10
Shawn: First things first: my assumptions about The Event couldn’t have been more prophetic and it doesn’t mean that I’m that great of a judge of a show’s character, it just means that NBC marketed it perfectly. As noted above, I said it looked like Lost and 24 had a baby and considering an hour before it premiered, NBC was quoting Us Magazine (who had seen it) as saying the EXACT SAME THING, I’d say that’s precisely what NBC is going for and it wasn’t a plan that they just dreamt up over the summer. This has been in the works for almost year, now.
Fans of 24 may not know this, but the last season of 24 (last year’s season 8 ) was not necessarily going to be the end of 24 as of mid-season ’09 – ’10, and in fact, 24‘s ratings weren’t even particularly bad (9.31 million viewers but they were dropping and had been for some time). Despite the obvious repetitiveness of each season and the notion that the tank was clearly empty (the writers themselves admitted this), 24‘s main problem production-wise was that it was a very expensive show to produce every week and the ratings weren’t high enough for FOX to be able to ask for the advertising dollars they needed to produce it AND keep it profitable. Around the same time, NBC realized that they had made perhaps one of the biggest mistakes of all time in television programming history by completely eliminating their 10:00 p.m. drama slot, Monday through Friday (to save money), in favor of demoting Jay Leno (and, yes, it was a demotion) and putting him in there all week. If you don’t understand how colossal of a mistake this was, consider this: there was serious talk about NBC shutting down completely as a network.
So, in order to save itself from itself, NBC got some new people in and re-evaluated their situation and realized they needed a strong shot in the arm and actually inquired seriously about bringing 24 over to the Peacock Network. Well, then they got a look at the books and found out how much 24 was actually costing and of course 20th Century slapped a ridiculous price tag on it to boot, and NBC said, “Thanks, but no, thanks.”
So, although the idea of 24 never came to fruition on NBC, the concept of reviving the network with a bang was still alive and well and it’s pretty clear NBC REALLY wanted their own 24. They wanted their own 24 so bad that they hired the Executive Producer of 24, Evan Katz to a seven-figure, two-year deal to run The Event. Truly, though, it’s not just about having their own 24, it’s about having their own Genre show with the built-in audience from the day the pilot airs. Genre fans are the most dedicated of all television fans and NBC knew this most recently because they had a genre hit with Heroes until it started to suck (and don’t ask me when it started to suck because it’s all a blur to me. I stuck with it until the December break last year before I was bored to tears with it. Apparently it started to suck a long time before that.). So, this is why you see the comparisons to 24, Lost, FlashForward and Heroes and even though Katz claims that The Event is none of these shows, it really is certainly in the same vein because if it wasn’t, NBC would never have picked it up, nor would they have signed Katz immediately at the end of 24 for a ridiculous amount of money for 2 years.
Which brings up yet another good point about this series: the confidence NBC has in it. NBC had the opportunity to get 24 and with it one of the most popular characters in prime-time television history and an automatic large built-in audience carried over from eight previous seasons. Now yes, there were the cost issues involved with acquiring and producing the series and of course it’s far cheaper to not pay Kiefer Sutherland the $13.2 million per season that he was making on 24, but having the kind of gravitas that 24 brings to your network right out of the gate might even be worth risking the scratch on… that is of course, unless you’ve got a show in the chute that you really believe will take Genre audiences to a whole new level and that is precisely what The Event does.
The Event redefines Genre television for a new generation of fans. You undoubtedly see elements of 24, Lost, Fringe and FlashForward but the story is very unique, the mysteries are compelling and the style of the series with the repeated time-shifting (i.e., the show goes back and forth in time repeatedly and it’s not consistent), albeit a little difficult to keep up with at times, makes the drama that unfolds that much more intense.
The casting for The Event is very impressive. Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) is a bit of a newcomer but he seems perfectly cast as the average guy trying to find answers. The rest of the cast is excellent as well with a lot of well-known television faces and character actors (Blair Underwood, Tony Todd, Laura Innes, Zeljko Ivanek, Clifton Collins Jr., Scott Patterson, Bill Smitrovich, to name a few. ) and no real superstars was very smart for a few reasons. First, you have seasoned pros on this show who ALL can act (and if I’ve never mentioned this before please understand that all of my favorite actors are character actors). Second, they come at a much cheaper price than, say, a Kiefer Sutherland would so think of it like a professional sports salary cap: you have the option of having one superstar and a team of mediocre players or a team full of really good players. The latter is the preferred and it’s a necessity with a new series. It’s also a necessity because unlike 24, The Event is… well… event-driven and not single-character driven like 24 was. A show like this requires a diverse ensemble cast as to not distract the audience from the complex and engaging drama that is unfolding.
All in all, The Event is excellent and has truly lived up to its hype so far and I don’t really have any doubt that with Evan Katz at the helm it’s going do anything but get better and better. This is the best new network show of the season and the only thing even on cable that’s better is Boardwalk Empire.