CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Techs Factor: Cowell to seek next Zuckerberg

It's what you've been missing in life. An "X Factor" show to find the next great tech leader. It should make for riveting television.

The X Factor/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

For Simon Cowell, there is no such thing as enough.

This would put him within a comforting cohort that includes William the Conqueror, Madonna and, of course, Mark Zuckerberg.

How fitting, then, that the latest spawn of Cowell's brain is reportedly a reality show that will discover the next great tech entrepreneur.

On all things Cowell, the Sun tends to have an inside presence, so I am grateful to it for revealing this marvelous development.

His partner in this very serious caper is, who is a remarkably good clothing designer.

The Sun quoted as saying: "We're working on a project called X Factor for Tech -- and it's going to be out of this world."

There can be little question about the out-of-this-worldness of this idea. "The X Factor" was supposed to be Cowell's great breakaway from "American Idol." He promised a minimum of 20 million viewers.

This, sadly, didn't happen.

Should you have been detained for years by the TSA for owning a suspicious toothbrush, you might be unaware of "The X Factor''s conceit.

It is essentially very much like "Idol," but with some rather touchingly concocted drama built in.

This week, for example, there was Trevor Moran (once known as Trevor Michael), whom some might know as the boy who makes dance videos in Apple stores.

Moran collapsed while waiting for his "The X Factor" performance. Would he make it? Or would he end up in hospital? Gosh, he made it. (I have embedded the evidence.)

This week also enjoyed the sights of Gene Simmons' daughter trying to make it big, as well as a 540-pound man who is so big that he had to perform sitting down.

It has the added attraction of charming judges, such as Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, who far too often pulls a face as if she's just swallowed a lemon-encrusted bee.

I will leave you to imagine who Cowell would pick to be the judges of this Techs Factor, though I wonder if MC Hammer and Ashton Kutcher might be available.

In general, I am rather in favor of reality television. I can't wait for Bravo TV's tech reality show -- produced in part by Randi Zuckerberg -- which will, presumably be a sort of "Top Chef" kind of thing, without the good food or the talent. believes that his and Cowell's show will contribute to the American economy. He told the Sun: "Singing and performance create a couple of jobs. But this will create lots."

This must be true, but one wonders just what the contestants will be asked to do.

Might they have to try and persuade VCs to hand over money by explaining that some fine new idea will, um, "go viral"? Might they have to perform an all-night hackathon to see who can create the best new dating site for puppies?

Or will they merely be instructed to go game hunting and then eat the animals they shoot?

Cowell has had his hits and his misses. Will this show unearth the next great Kelly Clarkson of tech? Or will it merely produce a Melanie Amaro? Or even a Taylor Hicks?