Robbie Williams to replace Dannii? Simon Cowell holds ITV bosses to ransom over the X Factor's future.
The X Factor could change beyond recognition in 2010 – IF it returns to our screens at all.
Creator Simon Cowell has drawn up a raft of transformations he wants to in place before the talent show returns for a seventh series.
And his demands include adding a fifth judge to the line-up, and upping the budget by £300,000 a week.
ITV bosses must grant all the wants on his wish list – or he could pull the talent show off air for an enforced break.
He said, ‘’If we didn’t reach a deal with ITV then I would simply take a break – it’s as simple as that.’
Despite audiences of 14 million people watching Joe McElderry win The X Factor on Sunday night, he said, ‘The show needs to change or it starts to fail’.
A move from the 600 capacity Fountain Studios to the 12,000 capacity Wembley Arena, just five minutes walk up the road, is on high up on his to-do list.
Robbie Williams’ two appearances this season could be easily explained – if, as is rumoured – Simon is lining him up to be a judge on next year’s show.
He’s agreed that there may be ‘possibly five on a panel‘ – which could be popular as it eliminates the current issue with deadlock.
And he said, ‘I like Robbie Williams. He’d make a good judge. He’s fun; he’s got good instincts. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and he’s a fun guy to be around.’
Rumour has it that both Dannii and Cheryl intend to leave the show so they can prepare to have babies.
The six-month commitment to the programme would be tough if either Dannii and boyfriend Kris Smith, or Cheryl and husband Ashley Cole, were to decide the time is right to start a family.
While Simon is said to be keen to keep Cheryl on board, offering to double her salary to £1.2 million, rumours of bust-ups behind the scenes with Dannii have fuelled gossip about the future of the Aussie judge.
Some say the music industry mogul and ex-Spice girl Mel B have already had meetings about filling Dannii’s panel spot.
But Simon has quashed those rumours by saying ‘I don’t think it will be Mel B’.
A second choice could be Ex-Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland, who’s done a lot of judging work in The States.
Simon’s grand plan also includes upping the number of finalists from 12 to 16 – and extending the live studio run by a month.
Fans of the high-waisted one will be glad to hear that he has no plans to step down from our screens himself, as has been rumoured before.
However timetabling his many commitments could prove tricky as he also intends to front a US version of The X Factor, which should be on TV screens in 18 months.