"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell will receive an international Emmy award for having "reshaped 21st century television and music around the world," the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said on Thursday.
Cowell, 50, is best known for his roles as a brutally honest judge on TV talent shows "The X Factor" and "American Idol."
But he also owns a music publishing house, Syco, developed the "Got Talent" TV format in Britain, the United States and Europe, managed the operatic pop group Il Divo, and signed frumpy Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle.
"Simon Cowell is an entrepreneur and performer in equal measure. He has built an international empire and in so doing has changed the face of television around the world," said International Academy president Bruce Paisner.
Cowell, who in 2009 topped The Hollywood Reporter's list of the 50 most powerful people in reality TV, will be presented with the International Emmy Founders Award at an awards gala in New York on November 22.
"I'm delighted, said Cowell in a statement. "I've been very lucky to be able to make shows that I love."
The International Emmy Founders Award recognizes an individual who has made an impact on the television industry and crosses cultural boundaries.
Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, and British TV journalist David Frost.