There is speculation that ITV may be considering axing The X Factor after network bosses expressed fears they had become “too reliant” on the show.

According to the Daily Star, ITV has openly appealed for ideas for a programme to rival the success of The X Factor, which has produced such stars as One Direction, Little Mix, Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, JLS and Jedward.

And the reports follow rumours that Simon Cowell had considered ditching the show earlier this year following the dip in ratings in 2011 – admitting that last year’s series “lacked spark”.

His current three-year deal with ITV is due to run out next year.

ITV entertainment boss Elaine Bedell admitted they were “hungry for a big prime time weekend event show” but admitted they were hard to find.

“We’re not getting enough ideas put forward,” she said.

“The ideas need to have the production value of The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity and they need a major piece of talent. We get very few pitches for big event shows. They’re risky to commission.”

But although the network said that they hoped X Factor would continue, one source wasn’t so sure.

“Every television network is always looking for the next big thing. They’d be crazy not to,” the insider said.

“X Factor has had a brilliant run, but no show lasts forever.”

Meanwhile Simon Cowell has taken a swipe at rival talent show The Voice, when asked if he was going to make changes to the second series of X Factor USA.

The mogul told reporters, “I am…I’m not going to say what it is, because as you know we are going to be competing with The Voice.

“No question of doubt, but I’ve already seen from last year to this year elements of what we were doing on these shows. Producers do that. They see something they like and they’ll nick it and you end up with both shows looking the same.”