Simon Cowell Leaving American Idol

The worse kept secret in show business was confirmed today with official news that Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol.

Cowell, who’s contract is up with American Idol at the end of the 2010 season, said in a statement that he is leaving the show to launch the American version of UK talent show The X Factor.

“The X Factor will launch in 2011,” Cowell told the media. “Because of that, this will be my last season on American Idol.”

“I’m thrilled that we have put a date on the launch of the U.S. version of The X Factor, and delighted to be continuing to work with FOX,” Cowell said. “We have a fantastic relationship, a great team and are all very excited about this.”

Notably Cowell owns the exclusive rights to the show.