“The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell and Black Eyed Peas founder Will.i.am have ended their feud, and they have joined forces to develop a new, still-untitled TV show that is being described as “‘The X Factor’ for tech.” The show would be a search for the next great technical inventor, in hopes of discovering someone on the level of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs or Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The Sun reports that Will.i.am made this comment about the show when speaking at a technology conference in London: “Singing and performance create a couple of jobs. But this will create lots. It’s about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves — whether that’s in science or mathematics. Simon’s cool. We had a wicked dinner a couple of weeks ago and it was very nice.”
In January 2012, it was announced that Cowell’s Syco Entertainment was working with Overbrook Entertainment (whose principals include Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith) on a TV talent show for nightclub DJs. Those plans have been scrapped.
Cowell also plans to executive produce a U.K. TV talent contest for chefs titled “Food, Glorious Food,” and it is expected to debut on ITV1 sometime in 2013. He is currently an executive producer of “The X Factor” and “Got Talent” shows around the world.
“The X Factor for tech” show sounds like a very bad idea, so we’ll have to wait and see if it actually happens. Just because millions of people buy iPhones doesn’t mean that millions of people want to watch a reality show/contest for would-be inventors. The show is only in the “discussions” stage right now, but there doesn’t seem to be a demand for this type of show on a large TV network, but perhaps a science-oriented cable network would be interested. However, Cowell doesn’t sell his shows to small cable networks, so he would have to convince a major network to take this show in a marketplace that is already overcrowded with reality shows.
Cowell would presumably want this “X Factor for tech” show to be based in the U.S., but did he not learn anything from executive producing the failed TV show “American Inventor”? That TV talent contest was on ABC from 2006 to 2007, and it got cancelled due to low ratings.
At least Cowell and Will.i.am (who is a coach on “The Voice” U.K.) have ended their feud. Will.i.am is part of singer Cheryl Cole’s management team. He had a bitter falling out with Cowell after Cole was fired from “The X Factor” U.S. in May 2011, after she did only four audition dates with the show. Various reports said that Will.i.am also advised Cole to never appear on “The X Factor” again.
There were signs that the feud had ended when Will.i.am agreed to be a guest mentor on “The X Factor” U.S. in September 2012. (He paired up with “X Factor” U.S. judge Britney Spears to evaluate contestants.) Cole also ended her “X Factor” boycott in September 2012, by appearing on “The X Factor” U.K. as a guest mentor paired up with judge Gary Barlow.