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Simon Cowell ready for 'complete domination of TV'

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Waterman on Cowell's empire
  • Simon Cowell will leave "American Idol" at the end of the year
  • Cowell plans to launch "X Factor" talent show in the U.S.
  • Former colleague, Pete Waterman believes Cowell wants to dominate television

London, England (CNN) -- Simon Cowell's departure from "American Idol" is a sign that the British judge is ready to take on the challenge of becoming the world's biggest entertainer, according to a long time friend and former colleague.

Veteran record producer Peter Waterman who worked with Cowell from 2001 to 2003 on the talent show "Pop Idol" believes his former colleague is after only one thing -- the complete global domination of television.

"He wants to own everything, he wants to be the biggest -- he wants to be a billion dollars a year man and he's going to be the first guy to do that," Waterman told CNN's Max Foster.

"It's not about the money for him. He wants to say that he created history by being the first man that became a worldwide brand."

Waterman recalled how he saw Cowell's ambition for domination nearly a decade ago and that he was shocked.

He said: "Simon believed that he could dominate television and I've got to be honest, but that is an incredible assumption that I'd never seen anyone make.

"If you told me that Cowell would now be the biggest entertainer on the planet -- we're talking about someone who doesn't present, who doesn't sing, who doesn't dance -- he does one thing and that's being Simon Cowell."

Cowell is being paid nearly $175 million for launching his "X Factor" show in America next year, according to reports.

"He doesn't own 'American Idol' and he only gets paid to appear on the show, but he does own 'X Factor' and he owns the whole brand," Waterman said.

Waterman also added that the fight between the U.S. "X Factor" and "American Idol" will be the biggest in entertainment history.