LOS ANGELES – Demographics be hanged, says “American Idol’s” Simon Cowell.

There should be no age cap for contestants on “Idol,” despite the fact that Fox targets viewers who think life ends at 35, says Cowell, the nasty Brit on the show’s three-judge panel.

“Idol’s” fourth season, which launches at 8 p.m. EST today, has upped the outer limit two years, to 28.

“If it’s 28, why not 29?” Cowell, 45, said in an interview after addressing TV critics gathered here. “If it’s 29, why not 30? On the record charts, there’s no age limit for being a hit artist, as Rod Stewart just proved.”

In Cowell’s view, it’s a mistake to program for a specific demographic. (See Heresy, network.)

“It’s a funny thing about 18- to 34-year-olds. My gut is that when you don’t aim at them specifically and aim at everyone, they’ll still watch. It’s always a danger when you try to target an age group in TV or music. I would never do it.”

Fellow judge Paula Abdul, 42, seconds the motion. “It would be awesome to have no age limit. Why not? I don’t think there should ever be an age limit on talent.”

Speaking of talent, Cowell predicts that Clay Aiken, last year’s baby-faced “Idol” runner-up, will have the longest career among all “Idol’s” contestants.

“More than anyone, he understood why he won, who watched the show, and what people who watched the show want to buy.”

On the other end of the rainbow, Justin Guarini, season one’s mop-topped silver medalist, crashed and burned “because he believed his own hype.”

“I think he was a very good wedding singer. He thought he was the new Usher. He was actually more Barry Manilow than Usher, but he didn’t realize it.”

Though “Idol” doesn’t allow lip-synching, Cowell’s cool when someone like teen idol Ashlee Simpson fakes it (and gets caught) on live TV.

“When Leo DiCaprio promotes “Titanic,’ you don’t build the ship. I know how long it takes to get a great vocal on a CD. Sometimes it takes months. They can’t do it every night.”

Cowell’s nastiness is well-chronicled. (Call it the Cowell Scowl.) He blasts contestants’ appearance along with their talent, or lack of it, ignoring smacks and dirty looks from Abdul and Randy Jackson.

“I never get tired of being a (jerk). I’m English. We’re all (jerks). It’s the way we’ve been brought up by our parents. We’re very repressed. We’re a strange country.”

Logo will wait 4 months

It’s no-go for Logo, at least until June 30.

The national launch of Logo, MTV’s gay-and-lesbian cable network, has been pushed back four months due to insufficient quality programming, says president Brian Graden. “Rather than introduce our shows incrementally, we’re going to wait until we have a complete thought.”

Carriage is also an issue. Logo now reaches about two million homes. By June 30, with a Comcast deal expected to be final, it will be 10 million, Graden says.

Among Logo’s original programming: “Noah’s Arc,” a comedy-drama about a gay African American screenwriter (Darryl Stephens); “My Fabulous Gay Wedding,” a “reality” series hosted by “The Kids in the Hall’s” Scott Thompson; and documentaries on topics ranging from gay Republicans to the first transgender production of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.”



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