Simon Cowell is readying The X Factor for American audiences, but he’s also got his hands in the UK game show Red or Black?. The show, which premiered on ITV on September 3, already has a dark cloud hanging over it. Apparently, Red or Black?’s first big prize winner is a scoundrel, and now Cowell is calling for his money back.

31-year-old Nathan Hageman was the first one-million pound winner of the casino-type game show. His broad shoulders and builder’s physique may have won him favor with a certain faction of female viewers, but his conviction record would not. Apparently, before appearing on Red or Black? Hageman disclosed he had served time based on a fight he had with another man. In truth, Hageman served 2 ½ years of a five-year sentence for a violent attack upon his ex-wife.

Whether or not the man who won Red or Black? is the same man who exerted anger over a woman, it’s still bad press for ITV and Cowell. Obviously, if the show could be rewritten, Hageman would not be part of it. However, as things stand, The Sun is reporting Cowell can only wish for the return of his money and ask the former contestant to consider his conscience. Cowell said:
"If I was him I know what I'd do - I'd give away the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity. I would do it."

I’m guessing reruns of this episode will remain in some vault, even if Red or Black? episodes are repeated on ITV or go into syndication. At the end of the day, the man served his time and won his money, even if it took a little white lie to get there. If Red or Black? is any good, it shouldn’t mar the ratings too much. The most lasting effect of the bungle? I’m sure background checks will be more thorough in the future.

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