ITV has confirmed that Simon Cowell will return to Britain’s Got Talent as a judge for the show’s seventh season. Cowell will reunite with judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams after coming back to the show in 2012 to give it a boost as it faced off with BBC1’s The Voice UK. Last May’s BGT season 6 finale was seen by a peak of 14.5M viewers and was the most watched show of the year up to that point. Cowell’s full-time return to BGT in January comes just as the impresario is facing a big ratings slip at his other ITV talent show, The X Factor. On Sunday, that show’s finale fell to its lowest ratings since 2006 igniting calls for Cowell to return to the series he left in 2010 to concentrate on its U.S. version which airs on Fox. Both BGT and The X Factor’s contracts with ITV are up after their upcoming seasons.
In a statement about BGT, Cowell said, “I loved doing the show last year, the new panel worked really well and I’m very happy they have all agreed to come back. Last year was a special year for talent and I hope that in 2013, off the back of an amazing year for Britain, we find another global star.” The judges audition tour starts in January while the show has added an initiative this year called “Star Scouts.” Members of the public will be able to recommend talent and if their act ultimately wins the series, they’ll receive a £10,000 prize. BGT, which returns to air in the spring, is a Thames/Syco production for ITV1.