Britney Spears is reportedly set to join "The X Factor," Simon Cowell's FOX singing contest series, following the departure of Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger earlier this year.
The 30-year-old pop star, who is enjoying a comeback following years of personal turmoil, received a $10 million offer to serve as a mentor and judge on the show, Deadline.com reported Thursday evening. E! Online quoted a source as saying that Spears was offered that amount but is "holding out for $16 million."
An "X Factor" spokeswoman told OnTheRedCarpet.com she refused to confirm or comment on the "speculation." A representative for production company FremantleMedia also declined to comment. A FOX spokesperson had no immediate response and Trawick and Spears have also not commented.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted a "well-placed source" as saying that Spears is "nearing a deal" to serve as a judge on the upcoming second season. The trade publication added that her fiance and agent, Jason Trawick, is "negotiating the contract, which could be signed as soon as next week."
Cowell said last month that he learned his lesson from the first season of "The X Factor," which delivered lower ratings than those earned by "American Idol," which had featured him as a judge from its 2002 debut to 2010. "The X Factor" debuted on FOX last fall and averaged around 13 million viewers. January's season 11 premiere of "American Idol" was watched by more than 21 million viewers.
It was announced in January that Abdul, who had also served as a judge on "American Idol" with Cowell, and Scherzinger would not return for the second season of "The X Factor." Host Steve Jones was also booted.
Spears was a guest performer on the original UK version of "The X Factor" in 2008, a year after she released her comeback album "Blackout." The singer had suffered a meltdown in 2007. She and Kevin Federline, father of her two sons, divorced and Spears spent many months partying. She then underwent a rehab stint for substance abuse and famously shaved her own head at a salon (see video).
Spears has since recovered. Her 2009 "Circus" tour grossed $131.8 million dollars. Last year, she embarked on a "Femme Fatale" world tour to promote her seventh studio album by the same name.
"The X Factor" is one of several singing contest shows launched following the success of "American Idol," which faces the biggest competition from breakout hit "The Voice," an NBC show co-judged by pop star Christina Aguilera. She reportedly earned $225,000 per episode last year. She and Spears both rose to fame as tween stars on the show "The All New Mickey Mouse Club."Whitney Houston died, that he and producers of "The X Factor" had "ironically" planned to discuss the possibility of having the singer join the celebrity cast. Other celebrities named as possible contenders to replace Abdul and Scherzinger include Fergie and Janet Jackson, according to unconfirmed reports.