Nellie Andreeva

I hear that Britney Spears is close to a deal to join Simon Cowell on the judging panel of The X Factor in Season 2. Spears had been in talks for the gig for over a month, but I hear that the two sides are now headed for the final stretch after a big breakthrough over the weekend when major deal points were agreed upon. As we previously reported, following an initial discussion, the pop star received a $10 million offer to join the second season of Fox’s singing competition. I hear that her actual salary will end up being more than that, probably closer to $15 million and possibly exceeding the $12 million Jennifer Lopez received on American Idol last season. Cowell and Fox had focused on getting Spears on board before moving to filling the other vacant judge chair on the show. The recruitment of Spears would bring the star power Cowell & Co. had been looking for after their decision to replace first-season X Factor judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

In his courtship of Spears, Cowell has been effusive in his public praise for the Toxic singer as a prospective X Factor judge. “I’m fascinated by Britney,” he said during a radio interview with Billy Bush in February. “The fact that she’s one of the most talked about — not just pop stars but people — in the world today, means that you’ve got this star power. This girl has resilience. I would think that if she’s managed to sustain a family, a career, which is tough, (X Factor would be) a walk in the park. I would be fascinated to hear what she has to say. She’s still hot, she’s still having hit records and she’s still controversial. There’s a reason for that.”

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.