Cowell Lands "Million Dollar" Gig With ABC

“American Idol” judge Simon Cowell will go behind the camera for a new show that searches for a “Million Dollar Idea.”

ABC has ordered nine episodes of the reality show, which will give entrepreneurs a shot at $1 million to launch a new business or product. Contestants will have to go through an audition process and pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts, referred to as “The Millionaires,” to make the final round.

“Right now, someone in America may be sitting on the best new idea in the world,” says Cowell, who will executive produce but won’t appear on camera. “This show gives everyone the chance to fulfill that dream. I have no idea who or what is going to turn up, and that is the fun of this new series.”

Cowell conceived the show with British telecommunications giant Peter Jones — who was a judge on “Dragons’ Den,” a British series with a similar premise and may appear on “Million Dollar Idea” as well. After a round of open auditions, contestants will then compete for nine spots in the finals. The finalists will each get $50,000 in seed money to greater develop their ideas.

While the finalists work on their inventions, the judges will be watching over them, picking three people to compete in a live finale. The audience will get to determine the winner of the $1 million prize, which includes cash, business support and physical resources to get the product or service to the marketplace.

FremantleMedia, which produces “American Idol,” will produce the new show.