Once hyped as the next "American Idol," Fox has canceled the "The X Factor" after three seasons of shuffling judges and low ratings for the musical talent show.
Simon Cowell, who left "American Idol" for "The X Factor," will now focus his efforts on the U.K. version of the show.
“Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the U.K. version of ‘The X Factor’ in 2014," Cowell said in a statement.
That would seem to contradict what Cowell said two months ago, when he told reporters that "The X Factor" would return for a fourth season.
Fox Enterainment President Kevin Reilly said, “Unfortunately, there is no 'X Factor' without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon."
The singing competition series has played musical chairs with its judging panel since its launch. Its original panel included Cowell, his former “American Idol” pal Paula Abdul, veteran record label executive L.A. Reid and British pop star Cheryl Cole. The latter was dropped a few days into the job, replaced by singer Nicole Scherzinger.
That lineup would last just one season, with Abdul and Scherzinger out, replaced by young songstress Demi Lovato and pop vet Britney Spears. As it headed into its third, Spears and Reid had made their exit, with former “Destiny’s Child” member Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio filling up the seats.
On a call with analysts Thursday, 21st Century Fox Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said ratings for "The X Factor" were disappointing and that show was a drag on the network's performance.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.