Gosh. Both the Daily Mail and the Mirror are reporting that Cheryl Cole has been asked back onto the X Factor USA judging panel after reportedly being fired last week.
“Reports today claim Simon Cowell managed to persuade executives at American network Fox to give the Geordie singer a second chance, ” says the Daily Mail.
“And key executives at Fox all realised they had made a big mistake. They have been watching the tapes of her at the American auditions and realising that she could be a huge star over there.”
Wow. Those FOX executives sure change their minds. A lot!
“Mrs Cole is expected to jet back to the U.S. this week ahead of the next round of auditions in New Jersey on Wednesday. ”
“Sources close to Cheryl confirmed that there were talks between the two sides, but added that any deal for a return to the US was a long way off, ” reports the Mirror, “They also suggested that the offer could be a ploy from Fox and Syco to gain the upper hand in any legal negotiations over Cheryl’s entitlement to a £1.2 million possible pay off.
THR reported on Thursday that Cheryl was indeed planning to apply for a visa to come back to the United States, but that it had something to do with a standoff between Cheryl and Freemantle Media. The production company is reportedly trying to avoid breaching her contract so that they don’t have to pay her.
UPDATE 2: Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Cheryl has been offered a gig on X Factor—apparently to serve as a judge as planned. It’s not clear whether Cheryl has accepted. While the Cole drama has only created tiny ripples here in the US, the situation has blown up big time in the UK, where factions for FOX reality chief, Mike Darnell and Simon Cowell point fingers at each other. Reportedly, Cheryl’s manager Will.i.am “personally reproached” Simon for the way that Cheryl has been treated.
Sources tell EW that Cheryl “wasn’t quite herself” during her four days of filming X Factor judges rounds in LA and Chicago, potentially due to nerves or just feeling out of her environment with the new show. “After the Chicago auditions, producers suggested she might be happier returning to the UK panel and her management clearly indicated she’d be happy to consider that, ” a source tells EW. “It wasn’t meant to be the case she was ‘being fired.’ She was offered an alternative [to work on the UK version] for more money where they thought she might be happier.”
The EW report sounds like PR spin to me. THR says there is no evidence that the initial parting was consensual.
UPDATE: According to TMZ, when X Factor producers fired her from the US show, they tried to put her on the UK version, but she wanted too much money. Cheryl is owed 1.5 million dollars for X Factor US whether she does the show or not. TMZ says execs at FOX — and especially at Freemantle — don’t want to lose the money, so they are asking her back on the show.
A THR source says Cheryl will have to seek a visa, return to the US, and show up for X Factor tapings in order not to breach her contract. Whether she will have a role in the show is unclear. It’s possible that the two sides will reach some sort of agreement returning her to a role in the US show to “end an embarrassing public dispute.”
Cheryl has “not yet applied for a visa due to paparazzi hounding her, ” says a THR source, “but intends to do so.” The show’s next auditions in New Jersey are scheduled for June 9th at the Prudential Center in Newark N.J.
If it turns out that Cheryl isn’t fired after all, and she winds up on the panel like Simon planned all along, I’m calling shenanigans, people.