Cowell's X Factor abstention adds to his millions

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The Independent Online

X Factor tormentor Simon Cowell is said to worth £120m and Forbes magazine reckons he earned £45m in the past year.

His fortune comes from owning the rights to X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, both made by Cowell and Fremantle Media. He will have made even more following last week's decision to hand the fate of the teenager Lucie Jones and the twins, John and Edward Grimes, over to the voting audience, rather than send one of the acts home himself. The audience's vote sent Lucie back to Wales.

This caused such a controversy that more than 20 million viewers were expected to watch the X Factor last night, allowing ITV to push advertising rates up to £250,000 for 30-second slots in next month's final.