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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Cowell signs exclusive ITV deal
Simon Cowell
Cowell has become a TV icon in the UK and US
Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell has been given a lucrative "golden handcuffs" deal to keep him appearing on ITV.

In the UK, Cowell will work exclusively for ITV over the next two years, although potential projects have yet to be announced.

The record executive rose to TV fame as the blunt judge on the TV talent show Pop Idol, and has also found similar success in the US.

The Sunday Times has estimated his wealth at 45m in its Rich List survey.

His pop proteges have included Westlife, Five and Robson and Jerome, and he has more than 100 million record sales under his belt through his S Records label.

'Great relationship'

He was also on the judging panel for Pop Idol winners and contestants including Will Young and Gareth Gates.

He has recently launched a television format company Syco. His deal with ITV will see him develop new projects as well as starring in his own shows.

But it will not prevent him appearing on other channels in other countries, such as Fox, which broadcasts American Idol in the US.

Cowell said he had a "great relationship" with ITV and owed them a lot.

"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of working with them for the next few years," he said.

And Claudia Rosencrantz, controller of entertainment at ITV said: "Oh no - what have I done? All ours for two whole years!"

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