Britney Spears to be ‘X Factor’ judge: source

By Lynn Elber, AP

LOS ANGELES–Britney Spears is coming to the rescue of Fox’s “The X Factor,” the singing contest in search of a ratings boost.

The Grammy-winning pop star has signed on as a judge for the show’s second season, a person familiar with the deal said Thursday. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss details and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A call to Spears’ publicist seeking comment was not immediately returned.

“The X Factor” debuted last fall to ratings that fell short of creator Simon Cowell’s sky-high predictions. The show’s slate was wiped nearly clean in January when judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger exited along with host Steve Jones.

That left Cowell and music producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid as judges on “X Factor,” which is based on Cowell’s hit UK series.

Spears signed a one-year, US$15 million contract, E! News reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source.

Fox declined to comment on Spears or other cast additions for “The X Factor.”

Shock jock Howard Stern, however, didn’t hold back at a news conference in New York touting his own new TV gig.

“I think Britney is going to stand there and eat a lollipop and wear a sexy outfit and I don’t expect great opinions out of her. I’ll tune in and see what kind of a train wreck she is,” said Stern, who debuts Monday as a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Spears, 30, is a former child performer who became an international star with her 1999 debut album, “Baby One More Time.” More hits followed, including “Oops!.. I Did It Again” and “Toxic,” but her personal life was difficult, including rehab spells and time in a psychiatric ward.