Simon Phillip Cowell (/ˈkaʊəl/; born 7 October 1959) is an English television personality, entrepreneur and record executive. He is the creator of The X Factor and Got Talent franchises which have been sold around the world. He has judged on the British television talent competition series Pop Idol (2001–2003), The X Factor UK (2004–2010, 2014–2018) and Britain’s Got Talent (2007–present), and the American television talent competition series American Idol (2002–2010), The X Factor US (2011–2013), and America’s Got Talent (2006–present). Cowell is the founder and sole owner of the British entertainment company Syco.
After some success in the 1980s and 1990s as a record producer, talent scout and consultant in the UK music industry, Cowell came to public prominence in 2001 as a judge on Pop Idol, a talent television show which he and its creator Simon Fuller successfully pitched to ITV Controller of Entertainment Claudia Rosencrantz. In 2004 and 2010, Time named Cowell one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2008, The Daily Telegraph ranked him sixth in their list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture”. The same year, he received the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards. At the 2010 British Academy Television Awards, Cowell received the BAFTA Special Award for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry and for his development of new talent”. In 2018, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the television category.
Cowell often makes blunt and controversial comments as a television music and talent show judge, including insults and wisecracks about contestants and their singing abilities. He combines activities in both the television and music industries. Cowell has produced and promoted successful singles and albums for various recording acts whom he has signed and taken under his wing, including Little Mix, James Arthur, Labrinth, Leona Lewis, Fifth Harmony, Il Divo, Olly Murs, Noah Cyrus, Cher Lloyd, Fleur East, and Susan Boyle. He has also signed successful boybands such as Westlife, One Direction, PrettyMuch, and CNCO.