Antonio “L.A.” Reid Leaves Def Jam; Joins Sony, “The X Factor”

The hitmaking CEO takes his own star turn on Fox's reality show.

Posted: 03/16/2011 06:20 PM EDT
Filed Under Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna

Antonio "L.A." Reid

Hear that? It’s the sound of millions of Americans setting their DVRs to record Fox’s upcoming show The X Factor in the wake of news that Antonio “L.A.” Reid will be a judge and mentor on the show.

Reid, who spent the last six years of his career as chairman and CEO at Island Def Jam Music Group making stars of such one-name wonders as Jay-Z, Kanye and Rihanna, will not only co-own the Simon Cowell show, but he’ll reportedly move into the empty president’s seat at either Epic Records or Jive Records, which are both owned by Sony Music—the company that will sign the winner of the talent competition. It’s a step that will make Reid himself a household name, though those who know music are already familiar with the three-time Grammy award-winning songwriter, producer and drummer who co-founded LaFace Records with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds in 1989 and went on to head Arista in 2000.

Though Reid’s camp hasn’t confirmed, sources close to the deal say an official announcement will likely be made later this week, as show auditions are set to begin on March 27 in Los Angeles. Reid will take an early release from his Def Jam contract, which isn’t set to expire until the end of the year.

Will you watch The X Factor?

71% Nah, between "Idol" and that other show, I'm bored
29% Yeah, I'll give it a shot