American Idol judge Simon Cowell is facing legal action after claims he stole the idea for his new British TV show The X Factor.

Cowell is set to launch the new programme - which, like American Idol, will feature thousands of pop wannabes vying for stardom - this autumn (04), but PAUL TINNEY alleges the multi-millionaire has simply lifted an idea he thought up three years ago.

And the 39-year-old from Belfast, Northern Ireland, claims to already have invested $180,000 (GBP100,000) in the project.

He says, "I've invested three years of my life, not to mention a substantial sum of money into The X Factor.

"I was stunned to learn that Simon Cowell had this 'new' idea because it is a carbon copy of mine. I have instructed my solicitors."

But Cowell's publicist Max Clifford dismisses Tinney's claims.

He tells British newspaper The Sun, "This whole thing was thoroughly researched and checked out by lawyers."

27/04/2004 02:17