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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 13:57 GMT
X Factor's Cowell signs ITV deal
Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell
Cowell and fellow judge Louis Walsh (left) have become star names
The X Factor impresario Simon Cowell has signed a new deal with ITV, tying him to the channel until 2008.

Saturday's X Factor final pulled in 9.2 million viewers and was ITV1's top-ranking show for 16-34 year-olds.

Cowell, who features on the talent show as a judge, produces the show through his company Syco.

He said: "ITV gave me my first break on television and I'm incredibly grateful. This was a very easy decision to make."

"We've had a fantastic relationship and I'm looking forward to another successful two years."

ITV director of programmes Nigel Pickard said: "Simon Cowell is undoubtedly one of the biggest faces of ITV and we are delighted to have signed him exclusively as a performer for two more years."

Shayne Ward, 21, from Manchester, beat Andy Abraham and brothers Journey South in Saturday's final.

In the first part of the final, Ward sang Over the Rainbow, When a Child is Born and Daniel Bedingfield's hit If You're Not the One.

His prize was a 1m recording contract with Cowell's company. His debut single, That's My Goal, is tipped to become the Christmas number one.

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