“The X Factor,” Fox’s popular singing competition reality show, will be back in the fall for a new season, but with different hosts and a much lower prize. Instead of “X Factor’s” original prize of $5 million, contestants will now only compete for a $1 million jackpot.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “X Factor” host and executive producer Simon Cowell announced the lowered prize money at the 2013 Television Critics Awards press tour on Thursday. Cowell says that the $5 million prize – the highest reality TV prize in the world when the show premiered – simply placed too much pressure on the artists.
"We got to a point where it was almost too much," he said. "We want artists to be artists. The prize is now $1 million, and they still get a Sony recording contract."
At the same time, Cowell announced some changes in the show’s format and structure. Clearly unhappy with the way the second season of “X Factor” played out, Cowell announced that hosts Brittany Spears and L.A. Reid would be leaving the show. Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland will be taking their places at the judges table.
"It's like having a dinner party," Cowell said. "You invite people for dinner -- and sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it's not as fun as you thought it was going to be."
"I felt that what we were doing was similar to what other people were doing, and I had this impatience to get on to season three to do what I wanted to do," he continued. "I never take part with the idea that you're going to lose. You have to be competitive, and you have to make changes. I work hard. It makes it fun. I'd love to be number one."
Given his vocal displeasure with the latest season of “X Factor,” some critics wondered whether Cowell would consider returning to “American Idol,” the series that made him famous in America.
"I can't imagine the scenario," he said. "I just can't. No."