From Deadline|London editor Tim Adler: The American Idol judge has hired the ex-boss of the company which made Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? to run his new Syco Entertainment. Ellis Watson, who starts as CEO of Syco in a month’s time, is a heavyweight businessman (see below). So right at the top of his in-tray will be figuring out how Simon Cowell is going to be in two places at the same time next year. The X Factor is due to start on Fox in fall 2011 – just when the show begins on ITV over here. And so far, ITV says it’s not changing its date. Remember, this is a big deal for the UK channel, especially after the finale generated an unheard-of peak time audience of 19.3 million. My view is that ITV could give itself the best Xmas present ever by moving The X Factor to that week.
Not that Watson needs my advice. In addition to running TV distributor Celador International, he’s the former managing director of publishing giant Trinity Mirror, where he oversaw 5 national newspapers. Most recently he’s been on the board of 2 Scottish companies: First Group, which runs yellow school buses in the States, and high-street chain John Menzies.