Cow­ell: For­get lead­ers’ TV de­bate ... I’ll stage my own BreX­fac­tor

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Katie Hind SHOW­BUSI­NESS EDI­TOR

SI­MON Cow­ell is in talks with ITV to hold a Brexit de­bate fea­tur­ing busi­ness lead­ers and 500 mem­bers of the pub­lic – but no politi­cians. A source close to Cow­ell’s TV pro­duc­tion com­pany Syco En­ter­tain­ment said the au­di­ence would be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the re­sult of the 2016 ref­er­en­dum. ‘Si­mon wants to see how many change their stance dur­ing the de­bate,’ the in­sider said. Theresa May and Jeremy Cor­byn have agreed in prin­ci­ple to go head-to-head on tele­vi­sion next Sun­day, but the Prime Min­is­ter wants the de­bate to be aired on the BBC while the Labour leader favours ri­val ITV.

Mean­while, Cow­ell, pic­tured left, has also re­vealed plans for a celebrity ver­sion of The X Fac­tor – sim­i­lar to the for­mat of the BBC’s Strictly Come Danc­ing – in an ef­fort to re­vive flag­ging rat­ings. Just 5.7 mil­lion view­ers tuned in for the open­ing show in Septem­ber.

‘We also want to do what we’ve just done in Amer­ica where we’ve got the cham­pi­ons show that brings back old judges and con­tes­tants.’

Cow­ell has been of­fered a new three­year X Fac­tor deal by ITV that would kick in af­ter next year’s se­ries, but he is yet to sign it.

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