Simon Cowell Says ‘I Doubt’ One Direction Will Reunite, Regrets Not Owning Band Name: ‘Could Have Made an Animation or Whatever’

Simon Cowell has one regret about One Direction: not owning the band name.

On Stephen Bartlett’s “The Diary of a CEO” podcast, the television and music mogul discussed what made the One Direction members successful after the band formed forming on Cowell’s “The X Factor” and he signed them to a record deal.

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“When I was talking to One Direction, I remember saying to them, ‘Our goal is for you to have enough hits that if you ever reform, that you can do stadium tours. That means you got to have about 10 hit singles,” Cowell said. When asked if he thinks they will ever reunite, he said, “I doubt it.”

Cowell then said, “One thing I regret is I should have kept the name … I should have owned the name.”

Because the band members — Harry Styles, Zayn, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson — own the rights to the name One Direction, Cowell would not be able to use it for any sort of spinoff project without their permission.

“That’s the problem. Could have made an animation or whatever, but when you give an artist the name, it’s not yours — and that’s my only regret,” Cowell said.

“If you’re listening, I’ll buy it back from you,” he said, then laughing.

“If one of the band members, for whatever reason, say they don’t want to tour, it can stop the others [from] touring. So, if it was me who owned the name, it wouldn’t be a problem,” Cowell said, insinuating that if he had the rights to the name, he could try to organize a One Direction reunion tour regardless of each member’s involvement.

One Direction disbanded in 2016 after announcing a hiatus. Each member went on to pursue a solo career.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cowell recalled giving the boy band advice early on in their careers: “It’s hard work, you are going to become well-known and you are going to lose a lot of your privacy. If you want to be an accountant, you’re not going to have any of those issues. It just won’t be as much fun.”

He then went on to lament the loss of bands in pop music in favor of solo acts, saying, “I don’t think [there has been] a band as good as One Direction since One Direction.” He revealed plans earlier this month to search for the next great boy band as part of a potential docuseries.

“The only way I know to put a band together is somebody has to audition them. And so, we just thought, ‘If I don’t do it this year I’m going to really regret it, so let’s just do it.’ And we’re going to document the whole process,” Cowell said.

Cowell will begin holding auditions across the U.K. in July to find aspiring stars willing to go through boy band boot camp.

Watch Cowell on “The Diary of a CEO” podcast below.

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