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Simon Cowell no longer the face of X Factor?

The notorious straight-talker may not be returning as show's judge

The latest gossip which continues to keep his profile sky-high says that Simon Cowell will not be returning to his role as a judge on this year's The X Factor.

The ITV1 live talent programme returns to our screens this autumn but sources are now reporting that its creator Cowell may be compromised by his commitments to the show's simultaneous launch in the US.

A source admitted "It looks as though Simon won't be doing X Factor in the UK because it will be too much even for him, but it's still not been decided."

Now heading to its eighth season The X Factor's popularity shows no signs of waning, with last year's audience figures peaking at just shy of 20 million viewers. Similar speculation over celebrity Cheryl Cole's future presence on the judging panel keeps the entertainment show high on the gossip pages - despite being currently off-air.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.