Britney Spears 'Signs £9m X Factor USA Deal'

Britney Spears has reportedly signed a deal to become a judge on the US version of the X Factor for \$15m (£9m).

Following weeks of speculation, the pop singer will appear on the second season of the TV talent show alongside Simon Cowell and LA Reid, according to E! Online.

A source told the entertainment website: "The contract is signed. There's been a lot of back and forth over the past few weeks as they negotiated the small details, but she's on. It's all completed and Britney is beyond excited.

"This is the perfect next stage in her career. Both Britney and Simon are very excited to work together."

The contract has yet to be confirmed by the show.

Cowell will be hoping the arrival of the Grammy award-winning pop star will improve the show's viewing figures.

During its first season, the programme failed to reach the ambitious 20 million viewers Cowell had predicted.

Although the talent show averaged a respectable 12 million viewers a week, it failed to rival audience figures boasted by the show that Cowell left, American Idol.

In a bid to overhaul the look of the show, it was announced in January that host Steve Jones and judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul would not be returning for a second series.

Their exit followed the axing of Cheryl Cole after only weeks sitting on the judging panel.

US shock jock Howard Stern has already been offering his viewpoint on Spears' reported appointment.

The broadcaster is himself preparing to make his debut as judge on America's Got Talent - another of Cowell's shows - next week.

He said: "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."

The second X Factor USA judge has yet to be announced with rumours Janet Jackson and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas are being considered.

The new series, which offers contestants the chance to win a \$5m (£3m) recording contract, will air in the autumn.