Taping for the new Fox singing contest "X Factor" is scheduled to start Sunday. But only three of the expected four judges have been announced.
While the clock is ticking, the identity of the show's fourth judge, though widely expected to be Paula Abdul, remains unconfirmed.
Previously announced judges include pop superstar Cheryl Cole and Grammy-winning producer Antonio "L.A." Reid, as well as Abdul's former "American Idol" mate, Simon Cowell.
"The X Factor," based on Cowell's hit British show, will debut this fall on Fox. The likely choice of Abdul to be included is an open secret, fueled in part by Cowell's recent remarks that he would like to work with her again.
On Friday, negotiations with Abdul were continuing, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Fox and the show's producers had not authorized public comment.
Abdul is a dancer, choreographer and recording artist who reigned on "Idol" as the nice, if sometimes dizzy-seeming, judge who often clashed with Cowell, who played the role of bullyboy.
There was no immediate comment from Fox or from Abdul's agent or publicist.
In January, she debuted on CBS with her own talent competition, "Live to Dance," which was a flop.
"The X Factor" is open to solo singers and vocal groups age 12 and up. The winner gets a $5 million record contract.