ITV has confirmed the cancellation of Simon Cowell's talent show "The X Factor" after 17 years. The U.K. broadcaster's representative said there were no plans for the show's return.
"There are no current plans for the next series of 'The X Factor' at this stage," the representative said in a statement.
ITV plc managing director Kevin Lygo told the virtual Edinburgh TV Festival there was no guarantee for "The X Factor" to return to the small screen at the time.
"It's not returning. It might return, and if it does, the format will tweak," he said. "Simon controls it more than we do. When does he want it to come back? How does he want to come back? Hopefully, we can be part of it."
Created by Cowell, the show began in 2004 and produced 445 episodes that aired over 15 seasons. Its last episode was seen in December 2018.
"The X Factor" has been the crown jewel of Cowell's entertainment empire. It also gives birth to a number of talents who rose to international prominence, like Leona Lewis, Little Mix and One Direction.
According to Largs and Millport Weekly News, the main reason why the show has been axed is its declining popularity. Cowell himself allegedly canceled "The X Factor" to prevent it from becoming a "joke."
Between 2010 and 2018, its rating started to reduce by more than 50%. From 17.2 million views, it went down to 5.2 million.
One source said the show might return in 2023, but others added it would unlikely happen in the U.K.
Worldwide "it is still a phenomenon and rakes in millions every year. But in the U.K., there is no question it has become slightly stale," the insider said. "Simon remains at the top of his game and knows how to make a hit. He owns the rights to the show, and it's his call - not ITV's - whether or not he drops it."
The last thing Cowell wants to happen in "The X Factor" is to end with a whimper and become a joke. The show is still on the back-burner, though, and it may still come back in the future.
Anyhow, the show's cancellation does not mean that the music mogul will leave the world of T.V. altogether. Instead, he will launch a new show, called "'Walk the Line."
It is another musical show, but with a twist. According to reports, it is like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" but musical.
It will also have contenders that will perform in front of the panel of judges, though it is not a talent contest but a game show.