Simon Cowell denies that his shows exploit people

Simon Cowell Photo: PA

Simon Cowell has denied claims that his TV shows exploit people, whilst admitting there are moments that make him feel "uncomfortable".

Speaking to the Radio Times, the 53-year-old was asked whether he thought that he was playing with people's lives on his talent shows.

Cowell said: "It happens on every show you make.

"There is a moment where you feel uncomfortable, but then you look at things with perspective and the truth is - over the years - the show has benefited a lot of people's lives who wouldn't have had an opportunity."

He added that contestants had to be "interesting", but that viewers did not want to see troubled people.

Returning with a new series of the X Factor this year, Cowell said that too much emphasis had been put on the judges in previous years.

He said that this year's X Factor would see changes to "every aspect of the show in some particular way" adding: "It will look ... slightly different".

The pop mogul would not deny that Tulisa Contostavlos had been axed, and refused to divulge the identity of the new judge.

It is thought Tulisa Contostavlos could be replaced on this series of X Factor Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

When asked whether he picks women who he fancies to work on his shows, he laughed: "A lot of them, yes, I'm not going to lie."

Speaking about his sex life he said he was "happy" and single, and when asked if he minded people asking him about when he was 'coming out' he said: "It would make no difference to my life or my career.

"A lot of my friends are gay, but I'm not and don't even think that way any more."

He added: "I couldn't care less (if people think I'm gay) because it's nothing to be ashamed of. It feels like such an antiquated question now."