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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 09:00 GMT
Cowell to make ITV1 variety show
Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell became famous as the sneering judge on Pop Idol
Music mogul Simon Cowell is making a variety show featuring unusual amateur acts for ITV1.

X Factor judge Cowell said the show, which is at the pilot stage, would resemble 1970s US programme The Gong Show, with Paul O'Grady as presenter.

Cowell, who may judge contestants, said the show would feature "magicians, jugglers and lots of dog acts".

An ITV spokesperson said the network was "in discussions" about turning the pilot into a series.

The spokesperson added: "We're very excited about the pilot."

Talent judge

In the US TV talent show, which began in 1976 and has been revived several times, the judges had the power to stop an act by hitting a large gong.

(from left) X Factor's Kate Thornton, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh
X Factor won best entertainment show at the British Comedy Awards

O'Grady, who won the entertainment personality prize at the British Comedy Awards on Wednesday, said he would present to "look after the talent".

He said: "There will be singers and dancers, all that kind of stuff. There are lots of people doing that kind of thing in pubs or clubs.

"It's all so eccentric and it's not on TV."

Cowell founded his own TV production company Syco, which produces singing contest The X Factor, in 2004.

The X Factor was recently at the centre of a copyright case which saw fellow music and TV producer Simon Fuller sue Cowell over claims he copied the hit TV talent show Pop Idol.

The case was settled out of court.

Earlier this month, Cowell struck a fresh deal with Sony BMG giving the label rights to his artists, including X Factor stars, for five more years.

Cowell is also well known in the US, where he was a judge on Pop Idol's US counterpart American Idol.

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