FOX Exec Talks Possibility Of Importing Brit Cheryl Cole To U.S. 'X Factor'

Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, 2010 Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, 2010

Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” heads to America in the fall, and one of the most talked about potential judges for the show – British singer Cheryl Cole – apparently has a fan in FOX’s top brass.

“If Cheryl was to be on the show, I think she’s proved that she’s a terrific judge,” FOX Networks Group Chairman of Entertainment Peter Rice told a small group of reporters during a break at the Television Critics Association Winter 2011 Session on Tuesday, when asked about the possibility of importing the 20-something singer.

Cole serves as one of the two female judges on the British “X Factor,” and the FOX chief said he thinks she’s a stand out.

“She has wonderful chemistry with Simon,” he said.

Rice noted that he’s been having regular discussions with Cowell as the months inch closer to the “X Factor” start date, and he said the judge is still working on securing the right group when he launches the show in America.

“There’s great speculation. I think Simon is still meeting and trying to find the right mixture of men and women to be on the panel,” Rice said. “It’ll be four judges as it is in England — it’s two men, two women… one of which will be Simon.”

While it sounds like Cole, the former wife of English soccer star Ashley Cole (they split last year), might be on the list, Rice said FOX will have “traditional network approvals” over the panel Cowell brings to them, which Rice confirmed will be announced before the Summer TCAs.

“Simon’s going to come to us and tell us who the judges are,” Rice said. “Simon’s going to come to us and he’s going to say, ‘This is who I would like the judges to be,’ and we’ll have a conversation about it.”

Beyond the judges, who in a move different to “Idol,” become mentors to particular groups of contestants on the “X Factor,” Rice said he thinks the show will have a major impact due to the contestants.

“I think it’s an amazing TV show. They’re in their seventh year, I think, in the UK and it was its biggest year ever. It took over the country,” Rice said. “It’s just so well produced, so fun, so wildly entertaining… I think if they discover the next Susan Boyle next year on ‘X Factor’ — that’s not something that will happen on ‘Idol.’ If they discover, Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson or some 10-year-old phenomenon, that’s not something you’re gonna see on ‘Idol.’

“The other thing which I find most different about it is the way in which the judges own the groups, or own their categories, really differentiates the show,” Rice continued. “I’m really excited to bring the show here. I think Simon’s an incredible producer of TV. I think he knows how to make the show work and I think it’s going to be embraced over here.”

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