Simon Cowell, striking a pose.
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.