Is Britney Spears leaving "The X Factor"?
The singer is set to exit Simon Cowell's FOX singing contest series and not return to join him at the judges' table for season 3, according to multiple outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, and People magazine. The show is set to return in the fall.
The network, the show's production companies, Spears' spokesperson had no immediate response about the reports.
The Hollywood Reporter said Spears was paid $15 million for her work on the show. Spears was named No. 7 on Forbes' list of the 25 Highest-Paid Musicians of 2012. The outlet said the singer earned $58 million from May 2011 to May 2012.
Spears made her debut as a judge, alongside Cowell, fellow pop star Demi Lovato and record executive L.A. Reid, at the start of the recent second season. Spears appeared to be more demure at the panel compared to her peers, namely Lovato, who often sparred playfully with Cowell. One of the contestants Spears mentored on the show, Carly Rose Sonenclar, came in second place.
"She has made the decision that she won't be returning," a source close to Spears told People magazine. "She wants to concentrate on her music."
Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters recently that he was pleased with Spears' job on "The X Factor," saying he thought season two "went very, very well," according to MTV News.
"It was fraught with unknowns, and I think Britney did a very good job," he said. "People are fascinated with her and always will be. Last year the ratings were a little bit higher, but I think it was a better show this year. I think she tucked in really nicely on the bench."
Reid announced in December that he was leaving "The X Factor," adding that he plans to concentrate on his work as CEO and chairman of Epic Records.
It is also unclear if Lovato and co-hosts Marie Lopez and Khloe Kardashian, who are also season 2 newcomers, will return to the show. Their spokespeople had no immediate comment.
Ratings for the season 2 finale of "The X Factor," which aired in December, were lower than the year before. The episode earned a 3.1 rating among adults between ages 18 and 49 and was watched by an average of 9.6 million people. The season 2 finale had a 3.8 rating and 12.59 million viewers.
The most recent finale of "American Idol," the show Cowell left to launch "The X Factor," earned a 4.4 rating and 14.85 million viewers for its 11th season finale in May
FOX announced in October that "The X Factor" would return for season 3. Cowell then said in a statement: "I couldn't be happier about 'The X Factor' already being renewed for another season. I am so proud of the show and the team who have made it this season."
Both Spears and Lovato command a massive fan following and "The X Factor" marked a major part of their career comebacks following years of turmoil. Spears' fiance and former manager, Jason Trawick was last year approved to become her co-conservator and helped negotiate her "X Factor" deal. Her father, Jamie, has been managing her financial affairs since she suffered a 2007 meltdown that saw her shaving her own head at a salon (see video).
Lovato had a rough year in 2010. She dropped out of a concert series with the Jonas Brothers to seek medical treatment for what she called "emotional and physical issues" and spent about two months at a facility. She has since opened up about her personal struggles with drugs, alcohol, anorexia and depression in print and television interviews.