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Amid rumors that “American Idol’s” veteran judge plans to bail on the blockbuster reality music competition in a year to focus on bringing Britain’s “X Factor” stateside, Fox is said to be close to sealing a deal that would keep “Idol” on the air for three more seasons with or without Cowell on board, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The popular -- if not universally beloved -- cultural taste-maker has yet to spell out how long he intends to remain on the Fox mega-hit.
The network's current contract with “Idol” producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia is up at the end of 2011 season, the paper reported.
Earlier this month, Cowell told the BBC he sometimes feels “overloaded” with all his responsibilities -- record exec, TV producer, reality star.
“You do feel trapped and you don’t want to let anybody down,” Cowell said then. “It can get to be too much.”
His brother Tony predicted on his weekly podcast Tuesday that Cowell would exit “Idol” at the end of 2010.
Before "X Factor" -- another "Idol"-style reality TV talent competition -- comes to the U.S., Cowell still needs to cut deals with Sony and Fox. But he could conceivably take on a “smaller role on ‘Idol’ in 2011” and not have to jettison the gig, according to the Reporter.