It’s Official: Simon Cowell Leaving American Idol

We reported it several weeks ago when Simon’s brother made the announcement but today the confirmation comes straight from the man himself: Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol.

The news was confirmed today by both Simon and Fox:

Cowell and top Fox executives made the announcement to reporters in Pasadena at a meeting of the Television Critics Association, saying they had reached an agreement only a few hours before.

“I was offered a lot of money to stay on,” Cowell said. “But that wasn’t the reason behind it. I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge.”

Cowell said he didn’t want to leave “American Idol” at a time when it was fading in the ratings.

“You want to leave on a high,” he said. “I’m very proud of what the show has achieved.”

No word yet on who will replace Simon but those will be some tough shoes to fill. Perhaps the show will return to a 3-judge format. Who do you think could take over for Simon Cowell in the next season of American Idol?

Update: Simon Cowell was on Seacrest’s radio show Tuesday morning discussing how sad he was to be leaving American Idol. Apparently not sad enough to not leave Idol, but just kinda sad.

Source: Yahoo!