Fox to launch The X Factor in 2011

Fox will launch hit British format The X Factor in the US next year after striking a long mooted deal with creator Simon Cowell.

The move will see FremantleMedia North America and Syco Television, a joint venture between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment, produce the show in the States. As a result, Cowell will leave American Idol.

The news was announced at the Television Critics Association tour in LA and saw Cowell ink the deal live on stage with Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice and  entertainment president Kevin Reilly.

FremantleMedia distributes the talent show format, which is currently on air in 17 territories and the US sale is expected to see this grow even further. However, it is unclear whether the finished tape of the US version will be distributed internationally as a result of complicated music clearance issues; the UK version of the show, which airs on ITV, is currently not sold worldwide.

There has been much talk of Cowell launching The X Factor in the US with Cowell reportedly negotiating with the help of retail magnate and Top Shop owner Philip Green.

19 Entertainment, the company run by Idol creator Simon Fuller, is also thought to own part of the rights of any US version of The X Factor after a legal settlement in 2005.