Simon Cowell heavily backed for X Factor return

Simon Cowell has been heavily backed to return to 'The X Factor', fuelling speculation the music mogul will take Gary Barlow's place on the panel next year

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Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell has been heavily backed to return to 'The X Factor'.

The music mogul's odds to reprise his judging role on the ITV talent show have fallen dramatically from 3/1 to a staggering 1/8 in the last week with bookmakers William Hill, fuelling speculation the 'X Factor' boss will swap his place on the panel of the US version of the show for the UK programme.

Part of the reason Simon - who was a judge on the UK 'X Factor' from 2004 to 2010 - is being backed to return to 'The X Factor' is because the US show is reportedly facing a ratings crisis.

Simon's flagship series in the US is said to be battling to stay on the air after viewing figures slumped to just 3.6 million, less than a fifth of the 20 million the TV mogul said he was aiming for when the show first started in 2011.

Even one of Simon's closest allies, Nicole Scherzinger - who appears as a judge on the UK version of the show - has said he needs to raise his game.

She told The Sun newspaper: "Simon honey, you need to worry about those ratings in the US! Our show is way better than the American one."

Setbacks to the show - which is also judged by Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio - include it being taken off air for three weeks to make way for the World Series baseball and a debacle last week where the wrong numbers to vote for acts were displayed, forcing them to perform again.

A source said: "The series was getting seven million. We're hoping it will pick up now we're into the shows."

In contrast, rival US show 'The Voice' pulled in 10.2 million viewers in the same 8pm slot last Thursday (07.11.13).

Simon - who is 9/2 to not return to 'The X Factor' - is expected to take Gary Barlow's place on the panel of the UK show after the Take That singer confirmed recently he would be leaving the programme.

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