- - Sunday, December 16, 2012

L.A. Reid is leaving “The X Factor.”

The reality TV judge will not return to the Fox series for season three. The Epic Records chairman will return to his full-time gig of running the Sony music label, with plans to invest renewed energy and vigor into developing new and signed artists.

“I have the utmost respect for Simon Cowell,” Mr. Reid said Thursday. “He is the very best, and I have had the opportunity to learn so much from him. Working with him on 'X Factor' has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m honored to have sat on the panel with such incredible talent.”

Mr. Reid was the first judge hired by Mr. Cowell for season one last year. He also was the only judge to survive a brutal “X Factor” bloodbath that saw fellow panelists Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones, fired prior to season two.

After mentoring the boys during season one, Mr. Reid was placed in charge of the over-25s for season two. Although he initially was unhappy with the assignment, his mentee, Tate Stevens, has proven to be one of two front-runners to win the $5 million prize during next week’s finale.

From left, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Cora, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, ... more >

“Of course, I will miss the show,” Mr. Reid added. “In my opinion, Simon attracts the best talent, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my core business and the responsibility of running Epic Records.”

It is not yet known whether current judges Britney Spears or Demi Lovato will remain on board for season three, which already has been given the green light by Fox.

Wednesday’s semifinals episode of “X Factor” averaged 7.8 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults age 18 to 49. Overall, the series’ second season is down in the key demographic of adults 18 to 49, dropping nearly 25 percent.

MTV names One Direction 2012 Artists of the Year

They’re platinum. They’re fascinating. And now One Direction is MTV’s 2012 Artist of the Year.

MTV said the fivesome is “the clear choice for the top spot” after a year that included two No. 1 albums, hits such as “What Makes You Beautiful” and a sold-out world tour.

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson called Thursday’s honor “the icing on the cake.”

MTV’s team of music staffers chose Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” as song of the year.

One Direction placed third on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” in 2010 and made their U.S. debut in March with the No. 1 album “Up All Night.” Their sophomore album, “Take Me Home,” was the year’s third-highest debut.

The group also made Barbara Walters’ list of the most fascinating people of 2012.

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