Simon Cowell has scored a massive coup… signing up Will Smith as a judge on the US X Factor.
The Hollywood star, 42, will join “Mr Nasty” Cowell, Cheryl Cole and another, as yet unnamed, female star for the show’s massively-hyped launch later this year.
A source said: “Simon thinks Will and Cheryl will be a brilliant formula. He’s one of the biggest names in America, and considered to be a talented musician as well as actor.”
As well as signing the Men In Black star, once voted “most powerful actor on the planet”,
Simon is still undecided as to whether he will be on the judging panel of the UK’s ITV1 version. If he does decide to quit it will come as a huge blow for ITV bosses who hoped Cowell, 51, would try to juggle his time between both versions of the show after signing him up on an estimated £100 million three-year contract.
Fans of 27-year-old Cheryl will also be gutted she is joining the boss on US X Factor. She has been a revelation in her three years as a judge and is still hugely popular despite Gamu-gate and her acts bickering this year.
She is likely to be replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, 32, who was originally tipped to join the US judging panel.
The source added: “Simon is desperate to make the US X Factor the biggest show in the world and trounce American Idol, which is produced by his rival Simon Fuller, in the ratings war.
“It is a completely new challenge and he is genuinely excited by it. He knows for the things he really desires – fame, prestige and money – he knows it’s all about the US and that is now his sole focus.
“It would be impossible to be a judge on both and make transatlantic flights every week. But all these changes have led to fears that the British series will become a watered-down version.”
Smith, who is worth £200million, has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards for his acting and won multiple Grammy Awards for his music.