There's no doubt that Simon Cowell is a man with the Midas touch. The 47-year-old music industry mogul has demonstrated his own 'X-Factor' in netting a cool £100 million by selling his TV series around the world. The deals will double his fortune to £200 million.
The new programme, America's Got Talent, will be shown in 40 countries across the globe, including Russia, Greece and Kazakhstan.
In it, musicians, comedians, magicians and other hopefuls compete for a cash prize using whatever talent they have. The British version of the show, which hits UK screens on June 14, features Simon as a judge, joined by Cutting It actress Amanda Holden and former newspaper editor Piers Morgan. The winner will take home £100,000 and perform for the Queen at this year's Royal Variety Show.
Across the pond, the American version of the show has already been a big hit - pulling top viewing figures for NBC. The Australian production, which features Danni Minogue as a judge, also went to number one in the ratings.
Simon's lucrative deal is just the latest of numerous TV and music triumphs. Last year he signed a three-year deal with ITV worth £20 million, and he also pockets £13 million a series to appear as a judge on American Idol. "He knows exactly what people want and aren't getting," says his spokesman. "He has had the most amazing success by backing his own judgement."
Simon, who has been in a long-term relationship with UK TV presenter Terri Seymour since late 2002, has spoken of his drive to be the best, saying it comes from his hatred of losing. "It goes back to being a kid when you're losing at Monopoly and you throw the board up in the air… I just want to beat the competition."