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'I have no regrets'

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    Posted: 23 Sep 2011 at 11:58

'I have no regrets': Fox boss who axed Cheryl Cole from X Factor USA stands by his decision

By Mike Larkin

Last updated at 9:22 AM on 23rd September 2011

U.S. television critics widely preferred axed X Factor USA judge Cheryl Cole over her replacement Nicole Sherzinger.

But Fox chief Mike Darnell, who is known as ‘the Rumpelstiltskin of reality TV,' is satisfied he made the correct call in having her axed.

He ordered Simon Cowell to fire her after being underwhelmed by her performances, much to the embarrassment of the music mogul.

However the Newcastle star received surprisingly good reviewers, with many saying she performed better than the Pussycat Doll on last night's show.


Having the last laugh: No doubt Cheryl is smiling after reading her reviews despite Fox chief Mike Darnell saying he made the right call

Most bitingly, Neil Glenzinger of the New York Times referred to the former Pussycat Doll as a 'downgrade.'

He added: 'Ms. Scherzinger was a pretty face but, judicially speaking, not much more than a seat warmer.'


No regrets: Mike Darnell said he is very happy with the launch and stands by his decision to axe Cheryl Cole

However Fox executive Mike Darnell was unmoved by the critics, and in a diplomatic statement stood by his decision.


He said: 'It’s easy to love the one that’s gone, but Nicole is great too. Both are stunning but also very different.

'No regrets,but I also love Cheryl.'

Mr Darnell was shocked when he saw audition tapes of her in Los Angeles after being tied up for a fortnight with meetings, and immediately told Simon the axe had to fall.

He reportedly had a crisis of confidence after receiving the call, at the time telling a friend in LA: ‘I’ve got major problems.’

When the woman, a senior music industry figure, asked what was wrong, Cowell replied: ‘It’s Cheryl. They’ve told me to get rid of her.’

The friend said: ‘I’ve never heard him sound so upset. He was embarrassed and sounded defeated.

'He said he was convinced Cheryl would be great in America but that he now realised he had got it badly wrong.'

The judging situation will probably be the last thing on the mind of the 5'2 executive, who is known for his eccentric dress sense of ripped jeans, snakeskin boots and cowboy hats .

Of more importance to the television doyen is the show's below-par performance in the ratings.

It finished second in the ratings with 12.5 million viewers, but Modern Family won the day with 14.3m.

However the show's real competition is American Idol, which had more than double the audience during its premiere show this year with 26m.

In the run-up to its debut boss Simon Cowell had said his goal was beating Idol in the ratings and averaging 20m across its run, a target he seems far from achieving.

But alternative entertainment president Mr Darnell dismissed that as, 'Simon’s showmanship, something you’ve got to love him for.'


The jury is still out: Simon Cowell and his chums will be judged on their success at the end of the season

He added: 'We lived with the reality that there is an enormous interest in every show during premiere week, and honestly, we’re just relieved this morning. Other than crazy expectations, this is a very good premiere.

'We’re happy with the numbers.

'The expectations were ridiculous, and internally this is our best numbers for a Wednesday during premiere week in 13 years.

'If we can keep anywhere close to these numbers for 40 hours in the fall, it would be amazing for us.'

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