Fox is in the process of ordering three more seasons of Idol, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Fox's deal with the talent competition's two producers, FremantleMedia and 19 Productions, currently runs through 2011 but a new deal would guarantee three additional seasons of the show, the trade paper reports.
The move comes days after Simon Cowell's brother said Cowell plans to leave Idol in 2010. "A press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everybody expected: Simon will leave Idol at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of The X Factor to U.S. TV in 2011," Tony Cowell announced in his weekly podcast on his site, The Cowell Factor.
Cowell has been hard at work to bring his successful British competition series, The X Factor, stateside, THR reports. The program, set to air on Fox, was originally intended to debut in the fall of 2010 but is now set to debut in 2011.
Cowell's departure, coupled with Paula Abdul's, could cost the show a few fans of the original lineup of judges. (The third original judge, Randy Jackson, seems happy to stay.) Fox is hoping to sign Cowell on for at least one more season of Idol when they hammer out the agreement for The X Factor, according to THR. Cowell's current contract ends after the show's upcoming ninth season.
The ninth season of Idol starts Jan. 12 at 8/7c.
A show rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment.