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Cowell 'not at war with ITV' as fans fear he'll be fired over revelations

Reports of a falling out between Simon Cowell and ITV, partners on ratings juggernauts Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor, have been blown out of proportion, his spokesman said.

Cowell's televised talent competitions are among the commercial channel's biggest draws, generating millions of pounds in advertising income and helping it compete with rival BBC's increasingly aggressive reality TV drive.

According to Tom Bower, whose unauthorised biography of Cowell has been serialised this week in a British tabloid and hit the shelves yesterday, ITV bosses failed to respect Cowell and properly appreciate what he had done for the channel.

"He (Bower) admitted revelations in his book... risked pushing to crisis point relations between the station and the man behind their most successful shows," it was reported.

The multi-year partnership has been valued at £100m (€121m).

But Max Clifford, Cowell's publicist, played down any rift.

"Simon and ITV have had a very close and hugely successful relationship for many years," he said, when asked about Bower's comments.

"Inevitably they don't agree on everything all the time, but the overall situation is as healthy, good and mutually beneficial as it's ever been."

ITV, which has signed up both shows until 2013, issued a statement in response to the reports.

"We're continuing to work closely with Simon and the production teams to ensure that the shows are the very best they possibly can be and we are looking forward to the remainder of the run and the exciting week of live shows."

Clifford said he did not think Cowell should have spoken to Bower, who was given hundreds of hours of access to the 52-year-old when writing Revenge: The Intimate Life Of Simon Cowell.

Clifford said some of the stories, including an affair with a fellow TV judge, had undoubtedly knocked Cowell's image.

"Is it embarrassing? Yes," Clifford said. "Did he realise he made a mistake (in talking to Bower)? Yes. But in a month's time, how much damage will have been done? Providing Britain's Got Talent gets big ratings, then very little.

"It's more a question of personal embarrassment to Simon as a man than damage to his image and commercial success and standing in my view."

According to reports, one bone of contention between Cowell and ITV has been the choice of The X Factor judge Gary Barlow.



acerbic

Earlier this week ITV confirmed the Take That singer would be returning to the hit series this year, despite Cowell's reservations about his performance in 2011.

Cowell, a major global celebrity thanks to his acerbic judging style, left the show last year in order to launch a US version of The X Factor.

He is already a familiar face in the United States thanks to his starring role on the panel of American Idol, created by his one-time partner and now arch-rival Simon Fuller.

That personal rivalry is a major driving force behind Cowell's North American ambitions, according to a source.

A second series of the US X Factor has been commissioned, and Cowell will be hoping to improve on 2011 ratings which, while solid, were only about half those enjoyed by Idol.

hnews@herald.ie


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