February 13, 2007 12:15 AM by Joe Reality
Simon Cowell became a household name through American Idol and helped
to revolutionize the way new pop (and country) stars are discovered in
America. Now, British author Tony Cowell, who happens to be the
brother of everyone’s favorite American Idol judge, is seeking to do
for the book industry what Idol has done for the music industry.
Tony Cowell has signed a deal with ITV London to produce his new TV format for a “Book Idol” style search for new authors. The program called “Publish My Book!” is scheduled to air in the summer in Britain. “Publish My Book!” will see aspiring writers pitch their ideas to a panel of publishing experts in a bid to win a publishing deal. Cowell will present the program and plans to sell the idea to US networks.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV Magazine, Tony Cowell gave us the scoop on his new television program and also on growing up with his now famous brother.
Reality TV Magazine: Has this search for a new author competition been going on for a couple years in Britain? Is this the first year it is going to be televised?
Tony Cowell: No, not as a TV show. I was a judge on Lit Idol, which was a competition for new authors which was staged at The London Book Fair in 2004. This is the first TV program of its kind.
Reality TV Magazine: How many episodes are planned of the series?
Tony Cowell: The first series will consist of 6 thirty minute programs.
Reality TV Magazine: How do you plan to keep the show going for multiple episodes? What will it be beyond writers pitching their ideas in front of a panel of judges?
Tony Cowell: The format for the program is based on exposing how the publishing industry works, how hard it is for aspiring writers to break through – interviews with top authors, and culminating in competition to find a new author in ‘Apprentice’ style treatment.
Reality TV Magazine: What has your progress been so far in selling the idea to U.S. networks?
Tony Cowell: We have spoken briefly to US networks to let them know what we are doing in the UK. I anticipate further discussions once the series goes to air in July when I will be in the U.S. for meetings.
Reality TV Magazine: Has your brother Simon Cowell been helping you with pitching or developing the idea?
Tony Cowell: No, not at all. When I first conceived the format in 2004 I spoke with Simon and he thought it was a brilliant idea. His response was, ‘Tony, just make it funny’. Simon does music – I do books. We are both competitive but never lean on each other for support.
Reality TV Magazine: What was it like growing up with Simon Cowell?
Tony Cowell: Terrible! – exhausting, and a bit mad. He drove everyone in the family crazy. But I am 9 years older than Simon – so in the early days he looked up to me, followed me around, borrowed my car to take out girlfriends and brought it back with the gas tank empty.