Despite repeated denials, rumors of Simon Cowell’s departure have been rampant all year. Robert Sillerman, CEO of “Idol” parent company CKX, even went so far as to reveal Cowell was in negotiations to renew his contract for three more seasons of the show.

Now, however, a member of the producer’s family has finally confirmed what everyone’s been whispering.

Tony Cowell, older brother of perpetually peevish judge, told listeners of the Dec. 19 episode of his weekly podcast “The Cowell Factor” that this year would be Simon’s “Idol” swan song.

“Meanwhile, Simon prepares for a new season of ‘Idol’ – or should I say, his last season of ‘Idol,” Tony said. “A press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everybody expected: Simon will leave ‘Idol’ at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of ‘X Factor’ to U.S. TV in 2011.”

When it came time to replace the first judge to leave the show, “Idol” producers obviously went in another direction and selected DeGeneres. That won’t really work with Cowell, whose bluntness and general irritability often acted as an antidote to Randy Jackson’s blandness and Abdul’s blathering.

Maybe they can convince Larry David to take the job.

Tuesday, December 22
Ross Mathews, Jo Koy, Sarah Colonna – “Chelsea Lately”
Demi Lovato, Slash – “Lopez Tonight” – rerun
Colbie Caillat – “Late Show with David Letterman”
Dane Cook – “The Jay Leno Show”
Kid Cudi – “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”
Weezer – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Michael McDonald – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Kathy Griffin,Harry Connick Jr. – “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”

Wednesday, December 23
Mary J. Blige – “The View”
Jonas Brothers – “Live with Regis and Kelly” – rerun
Carrie Underwood – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” – rerun
Chris Hardwick, Ben Gleib, Heather McDonald – “Chelsea Lately”
Darlene Love – “Late Show with David Letterman”
Dan Finnerty and the Dan Band – “The Jay Leno Show”
Pee-wee Herman, Jackie, Tito & Marlon Jackson, Passion Pit – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Joy Behar – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!”

Thursday, December 24
Faith Hill – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” – rerun
Toby Keith – “The Bonnie Hunt Show” – rerun
Adam Lambert, Ross Mathews, Randy Sklar, Jason Sklar – “Chelsea Lately” – rerun
Andy Williams – “The Tavis Smiley Show” – rerun
Regis Philbin, Donny Osmond, Wolfmother – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Alicia Keys – “The Colbert Report” – rerun

Friday, December 25
Jason Mraz – “Live with Regis and Kelly” – rerun
Paul Shaffer, Backstreet Boys – “The Bonnie Hunt Show” – rerun
Josh Wolf,Matt Braunger, Jen Kirkman – “Chelsea Lately” – rerun
Martin Short, Kris Allen – “Late Show with David Letterman” – rerun
Louis CK – “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” – rerun
Don Rickles, Band of Skulls – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Doves – “Last Call with Carson Daly” – rerun

Saturday, December 26
Arcade Fire – “Austin City Limits” – rerun
Taylor Swift – “Saturday Night Live” – rerun