By James Hibberd
Updated December 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM EST

Simon Cowell says The X Factor will survive despite this fall’s devastating ratings drops.

“The show will be back next season,” the producer and judge told reporters on a conference call Monday.

But not so fast: What does the Fox say? The network has not yet renewed the reality series, and there’s no deal yet. As EW first reported, Factor is talks to return despite its painful season 3 numbers. The order is likely to be smaller than usual — instead of three hours per week, Factor is more probably going to run only two hours a week, especially after the audition period. All the reasons why Fox is strongly considering the renewal here.

Cowell hinted that his role on the show might change into “a different kind of role,” though added, “we haven’t discussed that yet.”

The judge likewise gave his assessment of the current season: “The show started off okay. I thought the was four-chair section was terrific. I thought the early live shows were okay. And the last two weeks have been amazing.”

Added Cowell: “As a series, particularly because of the talent — and I’m biased but it’s true — because of what [contestant duo] Alex & Sierra have achieved on iTunes over the last couple weeks — I’ve never seen this happen with a contestant — the show has achieved what it set out to achieve, to find a star.” So … mission accomplished, then!