Prior to the series premiere of “The X Factor,” Simon Cowell expressed confidence his imported music competition series would draw an audience of twenty million. No episode ever came close to drawing an audience of that caliber.

In the days prior to the third season finale, Cowell expressed confidence that his series, despite falling into the ratings abyss, would be back for a fourth season on FOX. It will not.

FOX, Syco and Fremantle Media announced Friday that “The X Factor” has reached the end of its rope. A fourth season will not see the US airwaves.

While common sense would attribute the cancellation to performance, the official press release calls it the result of Cowell’s decision to return to the UK version of his series.

A consummate showman and partner, there’s no one more passionate or creative than Simon, and we feel so fortunate to have enjoyed such a wonderful, collaborative relationship with him over the past 12 years,” said FOX’s Kevin Reilly. “Unfortunately, there is no X FACTOR USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon.”

Aligning himself with that message, Cowell added, “Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the U.K. version of ‘The X Factor’ in 2014. So for now, I’m back to the U.K. and I want to thank FOX for being an incredible partner and I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows. America, I’ll see you soon!”

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