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.
"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.
'Downton Abbey' producer: Don't worry about Stevens
"Downton Abbey" is still having a moment. The British import, which received three Golden Globe nominations Thursday morning, continues to linger in headlines despite not having aired a new episode in the U.S. since February.
Nearing the end of its third season's U.K. run and already commissioned for a fourth, the latest rumor has been of star Dan Stevens and the suggestion that the actor may not reprise his role of Matthew Crawley. Executive Producer Gareth Neame said fans might be getting concerned over nothing.
"There's been so much speculation about this cast," Mr. Neame told The Hollywood Reporter, reacting to the shows's latest accolades. "The thing with the show is, because we don't make a long run — we shoot about 11 hours of TV a year — our actors have the opportunity to go and do other work."
For Mr. Stevens, that includes a current run on Broadway in "The Heiress." His obligation to the play, while limited, is what prompted talk of him potentially not returning to the hit show.
And while Mr. Neame would not give a definitive answer on Mr. Stevens' future with the series, he was matter-of-fact in his assessment of "Downton Abbey's" somewhat ubiquitous status in the media.
"As to which cast is coming or going, we don't comment on speculation," he said, "but 95 percent of what I read in the papers is completely inaccurate, so that should be taken with a pinch of salt."
"Downton Abbey" officially concludes its British run with this month's Christmas special, but the third season doesn't premiere on PBS until Jan. 6. That significant lag time has prompted reports that PBS is looking for a way to shorten the delay — something Mr. Neame is very much interested in.
"It's unrealistic to have one audience watch the show and [the other] wait until January," he said. "With access to content, a lot of people are not going to wait. ... I think PBS is wonderful and very supportive, but they're perhaps not the most swift to change."
"Downton Abbey's" three nominations include best TV drama and acting nods for Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery.
Comcast app lets viewers store, replay TV, movies
Comcast, the country's largest cable company, said its tablet and phone app now lets subscribers download and store movies and TV shows from some channels for off-line viewing.
Cable companies have rushed out applications that let viewers stream TV content, but this is the first one that allows off-line viewing. That's useful wherever there's no Wi-Fi signal, as cellular downloads are slow and can be expensive, given that video uses a lot of data.
Comcast Corp.'s app won't allow downloads over cellular, except over Verizon Wireless' "4G LTE" service. That's part of a far-reaching deal the company struck with Verizon a year ago.
The app allows the storage of movies and shows from Showtime, Starz, Encore and MoviePlex. They can be viewed for 14 days.
• Compiled from Web and wire reports