'X Factor' judge L.A. Reid quitting TV talent show

LOS ANGELES, Dec 14 (Reuters) - L.A. Reid, "The X Factor"

judge, says he is leaving the TV talent show next season after

two years on the panel.

Reid, 56, chairman and chief executive of Epic Records, told

"Access Hollywood," the television program and website, he has

decided to leave the Fox reality singing show to return

to the record label full time.

"I have decided that I will not return to 'The X Factor'

next year," Reid told "Access Hollywood" late Thursday. "I have

to go back and I have a company to run that I've kind of

neglected, and it saddens me a little bit, but only a little

bit."

He added that the show was "a nice break, it was a nice

departure from what I've done for the past 20 years, but now I

gotta go back to work."

Fox declined to comment on Reid's departure on Friday.

Reid joined "The X Factor" when Cowell introduced the show

in the United States in September 2011. Reid sat alongside Paula

Abdul, former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger and

Cowell.

Cowell fired Abdul and Scherzinger after a disappointing

first season and brought in pop stars Britney Spears and Demi

Lovato.

But "The X Factor" audiences have dropped this year to an

average 9.7 million from about 12.5 million an episode in 2011.

The show broadcasts a two-part finale next week with the

winner earning a $5 million prize and record contract.

Epic Records, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment

, which commands a roster of artists including

Avril Lavigne, will sign the winners of "The X Factor."

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by Jill Serjeant and

Jeffrey Benkoe)

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