Britney Spears is nearing a deal to serve as judge on next season's The X Factor, a well-placed source tells The Hollywood Reporter. Spears' fiance, agent Jason Trawick, is negotiating the contract which could be signed as soon as next week.
Recently, reports surfaced that the pop superstar was interested in joining the panel, but according to an insider, it was show creator Simon Cowell who made the initial approach. Spears is signed to Sony Music's RCA Records, which absorbed her original label Jive in 2011 and has exclusive music rights to X Factor artists.
As one of Sony's Music's marquee acts (33 million albums sold in the U.S. and counting), Spears brings legitimacy as a successful recording artist, something critics of X Factor say was missing in last year's competition, as well as a level of unpredictability and drama that also was largely absent from the Fox show when Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were judges.
During a conference call with reporters in February, Cowell would not confirm that talks had begun with Spears, but did hint that "there's going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks and a lot of things we're going to announce."
To prepare for the seat alongside judges Cowell and Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid, Spears is undergoing extensive media training. Janet Jackson was also in the running as a potential judge, but reportedly bowed out citing previous commitments to tour.
No word yet on who might take the fourth spot. Two hosts have yet to be named as well.
Another high-ranking show exec recently told THR that the perfect candidate would be someone based in Los Angeles who not only has music business success and credentials, but is perhaps a parent and wants to spend time with his or her kids. Clearly, Spears fits the bill.
Spears' representative could not be reached for comment. A rep for the show refused to confirm or comment. Fox had no comment.