Music mogul Simon Cowell has been hit with a $180 million (GBP100 million) lawsuit which alleges he copied the format of hit shows Pop Idol and American Idol for his British TV talent contest The X Factor.

Former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller, whose company 19 TV created the Pop Idol blue-print, names FremantleMedia, Cowell and his companies Simco and Syco in court papers filed at London's High Court.

In addition to alleging breach of contract, 19 TV is also suing for breach of contact, alleging producers who worked on Pop Idol are now working on The X Factor despite signing binding contracts which prevented them from working for rival programmes.