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Britney Spears, Demi Lovato to join 'X Factor' on Fox

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 06:02 AM
NEW YORK -

Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are bringing their star power to Fox's "The X Factor."

The network officially announced today what had been a poorly kept secret, that Spears will join Simon Cowell's music competition for its second season.

Spears, wearing a white minidress, came onstage at Fox's New York upfront presentation with Cowell, Lovato and the remaining judge, L.A. Reid

Spears said she was "so excited about the whole experience" and that it will be different from anything she's ever done.

"The X Factor" debuted last fall to ratings that fell short of creator 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 Reid as judges on "X Factor," which is based on Cowell's hit U.K. series.

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

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 today as a judge on NBC's "America's Got Talent."

Fox also promised changes to the underperforming "American Idol" and tried to breathe new life into "Glee" by moving it to a new night and adding guest stars Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The network will add two comedies to its schedule in the fall, turning Tuesday into a sitcom night, and will add one drama. Fox on became the second broadcast network to announce next season's schedule, following NBC on Sunday.

"American Idol" remains Fox's centerpiece, as it has been for the past decade, but the show has lost a quarter of its audience this season.

"This year was a bigger drop-off than we anticipated," said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. He said "Idol" made no changes from last year, and there was little "urgency to view" at the beginning of the season.

He promised changes for next season, but he wouldn't give any details.

"There's a lot of life left in it," he said.

Once a sensation, "Glee" saw its viewership drop by 21 percent this season. It will move to Thursday nights and a comfortable 9 p.m. time slot following "The X Factor" in the fall. Reilly said the show is "poised for a creative renaissance," and has Hudson and Parker lined up for multiepisode guest slots.

Part of the reason Fox moved "Glee" is to make Tuesday a four-sitcom night, with two new shows joining "New Girl" and "Raising Hope." Mindy Kaling, actress, producer and writer for "The Office," creates and stars in "The Mindy Project," a romantic comedy about a doctor looking for love. The other new comedy, "Ben and Kate," is about a pair of odd couple siblings.

"We've been building comedy momentum on Tuesday and we finally have the shows that have exactly the tone that we are looking for," Reilly said.

The fall's only new drama is "The Mob Doctor" on Monday night, about a young doctor who has to pay off her family's lifelong debt to the Chicago mob.

Actor Kevin Bacon has signed on for a drama that will air in midseason that Reilly called "the new `24."' The show, "The Following," features Bacon as a former FBI agent asked to uncover a network of alliances between serial killers.

Another comedy focused on a family, "The Goodwin Games," is due at midseason and stars actor Scott Foley of "Felicity" and "Grey's Anatomy."

Fox's long-running drama "House" is ending its run this spring, and the network is cancelling high-profile dramas "Terra Nova" and "Alcatraz."

Fox has also made changes to its long-running Saturday night lineup, where "COPS" won't return until midseason. In the fall, Fox will present live sports events like college football and NASCAR races that night.

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.

Last fall, as she toured in support of her seventh album, the hit "Femme Fatale," she told The Associated Press in London: "I hear the older you get, the wiser you get and the more you know what you want — so hopefully it'll be a good year."

The "X Factor" job comes at a time of change. In April, her fiancé, Jason Trawick, got approval from a Superior Court judge to become a co-conservator over the singer, joining her father in that role.

Earlier this year, Cowell was coy about rumors that Spears, as well as Fergie and Janet Jackson, were under consideration for the show.

He was also guarded about how "X Factor" will fare when it returns this fall. After Cowell predicted it would be a hit in its freshman outing with 20 million viewers, the show averaged around 12 million weekly viewers, which is respectable but not a blockbuster.

Melanie Amaro was the winner of the show's first season.

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