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Judging Talent, and Winning Fans

Record executive Simon Cowell is a judge on the talent show American Idol, which begins a new season this month. The hour-long show is a spin-off of one Cowell helped create in Britain, Pop Idol.

His brutally frank criticism -- delivered judiciously in his British accent -- has made Cowell famous. A veteran of 26 years in the music industry, Cowell is currently with the BMG label. His most recent book is Simon Cowell: I Don't Mean To Be Rude, But... This interview originally aired on Jan. 15, 2004.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.