Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Update (February 7, 2014):

Well, it’s official. Simon Cowell is leaving The X Factor in the U.S. to return to the U.K. version of the show. Are we surprised? Um, yeah, not so much.

The Mirror says the U.S. bosses for the show tried to convince Mr. Nasty to pull double duty and fly between London and Los Angeles but Simon passed and will be turning his attention full time to the U.K. edition. We don't blame him seeing as the U.S. version has lagged in the ratings and, as of publishing, still has not been picked up for a fourth season on FOX.

Good luck to you, Simon!

Update (December 17, 2013):

There’s yet more news that Simon may be out with him alluding to a “different kind of role” for himself on The X Factor’s US version.

Update (November 22, 2013):

He’s confirmed it! Simon Cowell will be returning to The X Factor UK...eventually.

Update:

New reports claim Simon signed a three-year deal for both The X Factor UK and Britain's Got Talent. Beyond bringing in major bank — a reported £150 million — Simon’s also slated to appear on at least one of the programs during the contract duration. Will Simon bid adieu to his American commitments for the highly successful UK shows, or just juggle it all? 

Original story:

It’s no secret the ratings for Season 3 of The X Factor have been falling faster than Demi Lovato’s smile during a bad audition, but would seasoned judge and longtime reality TV pro Simon Cowell leave the show completely? That’s the word over in the UK, where rumor has it Simon may bid adieu to the US version.

“Simon leaving the show would allow a cheaper panel to be introduced — and give him the time to be reunited with the British show,” a source tells British publication, The Sun, as reported by MTV UK.

It’s a good point, seeing as Simon’s salary is reportedly the highest on the judging panel. There are no confirmed specifics on the number, but since Simon pulled in an estimated $95 million total last year, his X Factor compensation has to be pretty significant. Plus, that salary has to compete with the price tags of the likes of international superstars Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio, and Kelly Rowland.

Simon, of course, left as a judge on the UK version of X Factor back in 2011 to bring the show to American audiences. Now that the series is floundering on this side of the Atlantic, would he really jump ship to save it?

The famously grumpy Englishman hasn’t said either way and with more than a month left of Season 3 (the two-part finale is slated to air December 18 and 19) his departure would create a major hurdle for what has already been a rough season. Plus, it would leave a whole contingent of contestants — Groups, arguably the strongest set of performers this year — without a coach.

Of course, Simon may hold on until the end of Season 3 and just not renew his judging responsibilities. After all, he’s going to be a dad soon and may want to spend more time with Baby Cowell.

What do you think? Are the rumors just that or do you think Simon Cowell might make his X Factor exit? Sound off in the comments below.

Sources: The Mirror, EntertainmentwiseMTV UK

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!