- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - In the U.S. television battle of the British pop stars, Cheryl Cole is out of Fox’s “The X Factor” and Nicole Scherzinger will replace her as judge on the Fox singing contest.

After a swirl of rumors that Cole would be dropped, Fox and “X Factor” producers confirmed the switch Monday that moves Scherzinger from co-host to judge of the show created by Simon Cowell.

Previously announced co-host Steve Jones, a popular British TV personality, will be the sole host when the show debuts this fall, Fox and “X Factor” producers FremantleMedia North America and Syco Television said Monday.

Their brief joint statement offered no details. Reports had circulated that Cole lacked chemistry with the other panelists, including former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul, and appeared uncomfortable in the U.S. format that has been taping early episodes. Other judges include Cowell and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

Cole was a judge on the original British “X Factor” and Cowell reportedly had tried to keep her on the U.S. version. It’s unknown if Cole, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, will remain with the top-rated U.K. show.

Scherzinger, last year’s “Dancing With the Stars” champ, is a former member of the pop group Pussycat Dolls and has appeared on the British “The X Factor,” while Cole found fame with the pop group Girls Aloud.

However the “The X Factor” fares on Fox, it’s already provided a bounty of gripping off-screen drama with Cole’s exit and Abdul’s announcement as judge last month following protracted will-she-or-won’t-she speculation.

Fox is counting on the new series to extend to the fall the ratings domination provided by “American Idol,” which airs from January to May. For Cowell, “The X Factor” is a chance to add to his U.S. portfolio that includes the summer series “America’s Got Talent,” airing on NBC and produced by his Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America.


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