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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 39. Simon Cowell

Deus X.

The juggernaut that is the US X Factor has arrived, having turfed out the incomprehensible-to-American-ears Cheryl Cole along the way. The new show, for which Simon Cowell will resume his now internationally acclaimed mean-boy routine, is the latest in a long line of Cowell creations. In October 2010, he signed new, three-year deals with ITV for both Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor, and also secured a long-term contract with Sony Music Entertainment. This means big money. According to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List, his net worth jumped by £35m in the past year to £200m. If such figures make you feel queasy, that's nothing compared to Cowell's daily breakfast routine, which includes a spinach smoothie (as reported by GQ). He also hopes to freeze his body on the occasion of his death. This is no ordinary music mogul.

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This article first appeared in the 26 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The fifty people who matter