WHETHER it’s The X Factor versus Strictly or Britain’s Got Talent up against The Voice, Simon Cowell is no pushover when it comes to a ratings war.

But the media mogul is about to face competition from a formidable challenger — himself.

I can reveal Simon is drawing up plans for a new talent show to be screened on a rival network to ITV, the channel he has stuck with since it turned him into a household name on Pop Idol 20 years ago.

This latest TV project could be his first foray into streaming, as insiders say that he is keen to work with Netflix.

A source said: “Simon never rests on his laurels. He is constantly thinking creatively of new ideas and shows, innovating and evolving all the time.

“It is one of the secrets of his huge success over the years.

“He has told friends that he is sick of competitors trying to out-do the brand, so decided he would do it himself.

“He’s vowed that his next show will be bigger and better than BGT.

“He’s weighing up his options and considering if he would put it on a terrestrial channel or take it to a streaming site. Simon has a big vision and the likes of Netflix have hundreds of millions in their coffers to help make it a reality.

“Considering he’s responsible for some of the century’s most successful entertainment formats, streaming executives should be desperate to bring that Cowell magic to their platform.”

Simon dreamt up his new passion project after the announcement in January that Britain’s Got Talent would be postponed until 2022 due to Covid safety fears.

The X Factor is also scheduled to make a comeback next year, having been off air since 2019.

Last month, Simon made his long-awaited return to work by filming America’s Got Talent.

It followed months away after he broke his back in an electric bike accident at his Malibu home in August.

Simon may have spent that time recovering, but he certainly wasn’t putting the planning on hold.

Sue gets in a write old hump

MEL GIEDROYC has admitted her professional partnership with former Bake Off co-host Sue Perkins isn’t always sweetness and light.

Tensions arose between the pair, who have known each other for 33 years, over Mel’s debut novel The Best Things.

It became a bestseller after being released in April.

Mel said: “I didn’t let anyone read it [before publication]. I didn’t let Susan read it and she was a little bit miffed. I was scared. It was daunting.”

Although the book kept her busy, TV work was so scarce in lockdown that Mel ended up trying to recapture the glory days of Bake Off by staging cooking contests at home.

She revealed in a Hay Festival talk: “I realised we’d hit a low point in February when we all decided to do a blind chutney-tasting competition.

“It’s middle class, it’s sad and desperate.”

I can relate.

New role

BRIDGERTON actor Freddie Stroma has landed a role in The Suicide Squad series.

The British star, who played sideburn-sporting Prince Friedrich in the Netflix sensation, will be Vigilante in DC’s supervillain show Peacemaker.

It is a spin-off from the upcoming movie starring Idris Elba and Margot Robbie.

Curtis's hartfelt support

CURTIS Pritchard has at least one fan of his car crash appearance on Hollyoaks – Love Island ex Amy Hart.

The dancer and his brother AJ were savaged by viewers and former cast members of the Channel 4 soap this month after clips of their wooden acting went viral.

But Amy, who was forced out of the 2019 Love Island series after Curtis broke her heart, said: “It’s good that he’s branched out and tried new things. Diversity is longevity.”

It comes after Hollyoaks confirmed the pair’s exit last week and the brothers broke their silence.

Former Strictly professional dancer AJ said of the backlash: “It’s not something I’m going to waste my energy and time on.”

Corrie contract

CORONATION Street newbie Charlotte Jordan has had her contract extended.

Confirming The Sun’s story from last month, the actress, who plays Daisy Midgeley, told Digital Spy: “I’m definitely around until September.

"I’ve moved up here to Manchester now, just in time for it to start kicking off for Daisy.”

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