MEDIAWORKS: Were you surprised “American Idol” has beaten the Olympics?
SIMON COWELL: I think we’re not really interested in watching Swiss people win. ... ["Idol"] is a better show this year. I called [Fox Entertainment President] Peter Liguori and [Fox Senior VP-Specials and Alternative Programming] Mike Darnell and said it will be the best auditions yet. It felt fresher than we’d seen in the past. Keeping the cameras rolling made it feel more like a documentary. If you look at the contestants on “Rock Star: INXS” on CBS, they’re forgettable. They were good singers but they were like background session singers.
MEDIAWORKS: “Idol” begins an additional nightly run on Thursday later this season. How certain are you that “Idol” can take on CBS’ powerful Thursday night lineup?
MR. COWELL: We will never take anything for granted. But I think “Joey” has been mortally wounded.
MEDIAWORKS: Can you give us your verdict on TV advertising that’s out there? What’s bad? What’s brilliant?
MR. COWELL: Bad: the one [for Cingular] with ["American Idol" host] Ryan Seacrest. The good: that Vanilla Coke ad. [Cowell appeared in that ad with Chazz Palminteri.]
MEDIAWORKS: Are you going to do any other commercials?
MR. COWELL: I don’t know. I don’t want to feel like I’m available for gigs, I don’t need the money. I turn down 95% of what I’m offered.
MEDIAWORKS: Do you get a slice of the product integration for ‘Idol’?
MR. COWELL: Yes
MEDIAWORKS: "Idol" judge Paula Abdul offered one contestant "bubbly water" earlier this season. Do you actually drink Coke?
MR. COWELL: All the time. ... I'm not sure what she had in her glass. I'm often wondering.
MEDIAWORKS: Any sponsors attached to “American Inventors” on ABC yet?
MR. COWELL: Amazon.
MEDIAWORKS: What brands do you like?
MR. COWELL: Rolls Royce to Mini, oh, and Giorgio Armani.
MEDIAWORKS: What’s on your iPod?
MR. COWELL: I don’t have one. The headphones are uncomfortable. It’s a bit like if you work in a fish and chips shop, you don’t want fish and chips for lunch. I don’t like listening to music all the time.
MEDIAWORKS: Do you ever get threats from the rejected contestants?
MR. COWELL: No, but a few of them mince into the dressing room to get things off their chest.
MEDIAWORKS: Who’s your favorite "Idol" from this season?
MR. COWELL: Kelly Pickler. As a human being, she is the one you want to do well. You feel like she deserves the shot.
MEDIAWORKS: Who is your American idol?
MR. COWELL: Frank Sinatra, he’s the ultimate American idol.