Fox announced Friday that it has canceled music competition series The X Factor USA after three seasons. Judge and executive producer Simon Cowell had already confirmed that he will be returning to the U.K. version of the show as a judge.
X Factor finished its third season Dec. 19 with a 1.7 average Nielsen live-plus-same day rating among viewers 18-49, down 41% from season two.
"I've had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on The X Factor and American Idol. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public (most of the time!)," said Simon Cowell. "Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2014. So for now, I'm back to the U.K. and I want to thank Fox for being an incredible partner and I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows. America, I’ll see you soon!"
Fox Broadcasting Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly echoed Cowell's statements, saying "A consummate showman and partner, there's no one more passionate or creative than Simon, and we feel so fortunate to have enjoyed such a wonderful, collaborative relationship with him over the past 12 years."
"Unfortunately, there is no X Factor USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life," Reilly added. "We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon."
Last month Reilly spoke about the series' future during the network's TCA winter press tour executive session.
"The show underperformed this year," Reilly said. "Simon himself would admit that."
Cowell had discussed the series' future in a conference call with reporters in December, saying that he was in the process of pitching a fourth season of the show to Fox in which he "might have a different kind of role" than his traditional on-screen presence as a judge. He also asserted at the time that the show would return for a fourth season.
X Factor averaged a 3.7 rating its first season, failing to live up to expectations. Despite a high-profile shift in its season two judging panel, which included the addition of Britney Spears, the sophomore season fell to a 2.9 average.
The departure of X Factor makes the television landscape a bit less crowded with unscripted music competitions as ABC preps its latest entry in the field, Rising Star. ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said at the TCA press tour last month that he expects to launch that show in June.