Simon Cowell’s Grumpiness on “American Idol” Was Just an Act

When “American Idol” debuted in 2002, Simon Cowell was immediately branded the mean judge.  But Mike Darnell, the former head of Fox’s reality TV division, says it was all an act.

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Darnell says, “In all the other shows before him, everyone was polite and nice, and I knew that [being mean] was going to be [his] thing.  Simon, to his credit, was willing to do anything.”

He added, “Underneath, he’s a different character.  Watch ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ or ‘America’s Got Talent’ now and he’s a much softer version now.”