Simon Cowell decided to quit "American Idol" just 30 minutes before he held a press conference to discuss his future on Monday, January 11. At the media gathering, the music mogul confirmed he'd be leaving the hit talent show when his contract expires at the end of the ninth season, which begins in America on Tuesday night.
And in his first TV interview since the midday press conference, Cowell told news show Extra he made his decision just before stepping onstage. He says, "We agreed to the deal at half past eleven this morning. It literally was as down to the wire as that." The 50 year old insists it's the right time to leave the show: "I've been doing this for nine years and it's been a blast."
Cowell now plans to concentrate on bringing his British talent show "The X Factor" to the U.S. in 2011. But the TV tough guy admits leaving Idol was a difficult decision: "It did feel a little bit emotional... You remember all the good times you had."