Sir Philip Green and Simon Cowell: Missing from The Times
It must be my advancing years but I seem to be becoming absent minded these days. For instance, I'd swear I read an article in The Times on September 2, 2009 (happily I still have a memory for dates), titled something like "Has Sir Philip got the X Factor that will make Cowell's American dream finally come true?" (happily I still have a memory for long, unzingy headlines). It was written by Media Editor Dan Sabbagh.
Now where is it?
It's no longer on the Times website, it's even not to be found on Google (though fragments of it linger in lifted form on other sites). It's a mystery that might tax the investigative skills of Mulder and Scully of The X-Files. Or perhaps I hallucinated it. Or is it possible it offended someone so powerful so much that its deletion was ordered forthwith? Certainly as I write I'm not aware of any legal activity or clarifiers.
Sabbagh reported that billionaire retailer Sir Philip Green wants Fox (like The Times, part of Murdoch's News International) to broadcast an American version of The X Factor - apparently to tie Simon Cowell to Fox's American Idol up to 2012. Other insider-ish things were claimed which I imagine might have slightly irritated Cowell and Sir P: for instance it was alleged that Sir P was angling for a $9m pay rise for Cowell which would take his annual fee from Idol alone to $45m. He's worth every cent in my view.
Sabbagh even mooted the possibility of Cowell appearing as a judge on Fox rival NBC's America's Got Talent, something Fox might not like at all. Speculation about Cowell's TV rival Simon Fuller - who owns the format of American Idol - and what he might think about all these claimed developments probably grated some high-up players in this intriguing story.
As I read (if I did!) this remarkable piece of journalism I marvelled at its unusually fearless objectivity: Sabbagh even reported that Fox had not returned calls to him to comment. The very idea! The article may have been total tosh, of course. In which case its disappearance is understandable in a paper of record.
Meanwhile, in other news, an Arcatiste writes:
For what it is worth, today's Times p 73 (Dorset edition) has a mediapolis column. Can't find it online.
"Simon Cowell is due on the front cover of GQ in January, assuming he hasn't fled the country after John and Edward win the X Factor next month. He has been helping out with a piece that will discuss his business partnership with Sir Philip Green and, hopefully, will give onlookers a few clues as to what they plan for the development of Brand Cowell."
Not sure it's relevant but who knows.
And in yet more other news, mega-PR Mark Borkowski adds his view on the Simon Cowell/X Factor juggernaut, click here