So the question is: How much is Fox leaving to have to pony up? Try $20 million.
Information this week that the pop star was bearing in mind a $10 million offer to host next fall's seasons of "The X Factor" are out of date, according to a knowledgeable individual in Spears' camp.
The singer rejected that offer three weeks ago and is instead thoughts about an offer to become a occupant performer at a Las Vegas hotel in the fall, a la Celine Dion.
So here comes a game of chicken. Fox very much needs a big name to announce on the judge's panel of 's show, now that NBC's hit show "The Voice" will be rival with them in the fall.
Spears' camp wants $20 million.
It's flattering an arms race for singing talent being paid to sit behind tables and... talk.
NBC has put its money where its mouth is, paying upward of $10 million to come back and judge the new season of "The Voice." They've given handsome paychecks, if not as much, to the additional judges as well.
That pales in contrast to what Fox has shelled out for the "X Factor" judges. was paid $2.5 million for the last season, according to another well-informed insider, and she was announced at the 11th hour.
She was also fired, as were judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones.
"X Factor" is already recording its test phase, but won't need the judges until the end of May.
What the network wants is a big piece of news to present to advertisers at their upfront sales presentations on May 14.
Neither Fox, Spears' or Cowell's camps would remark.