Simon Cowell extends TV reach with new "niche" independent production company

Over the Top Productions will see the X Factor guru becoming involved in genres beyond his trademark talent shows

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Simon Cowell extends TV reach with new "niche" independent production company
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If you think Simon Cowell already has enough influence on the contents of your TV schedules, brace yourself because the man behind The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent is branching out, with the launch of a new independent television company.

Over the Top Productions will be run by Nigel Hall, head of entertainment at Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, and will allow Cowell to make inroads into a range of genres outside the major entertainment formats for which he is best known.

“Working alongside Simon Cowell in taking ideas, thoughts and pieces of paper and turning them into worldwide formats has been an extraordinary adventure,” said Hall.

“I am delighted to announce the birth of Over The Top Productions and we are already in advanced talks with broadcasters over new formats.”

Based in London, the new company will look to develop formats across a range of genres, including "innovative niche TV productions", for the UK and global markets.

Cowell has a long-held ambition to bring a scripted drama to TV and is currently involved in adapting a novel, although it's not known whether the new company will be involved in that project.

He has fingers in other TV pies too. Next month, Syco is set to launch ITV cookery show Food, Glorious Food, a joint production with Gordon Ramsay's Optomen.

Dubbed "the Antiques Roadshow of food", it will see a panel of experts – including fomer MasterChef host Loyd Grossman and food writer Tom Parker-Bowles, son of the Duchess of Cornwall – travelling to rural venues to give their verdicts on local home cooked dishes.