'X Factor' Judge L.A. Reid Signs Deal to Return for Season 2 (Exclusive)

X Factor premiere LA Reid
Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup for FOX

After unexpected exits by Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter that the Epic Records chief has signed a deal to return to judge the Fox show next year.

He was the one X Factor cast member audiences seemed to embrace and, according to a well-placed source, L.A. Reid will be back for season 2 of the Fox singing competition series. 

The judge and Epic Records chairman signed his option contract on Friday, a show insider tells The Hollywood Reporter, four days after it was revealed that creator Simon Cowell had dismissed host Steve Jones and judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger from season 2 duty. 

ANALYSIS: 'X Factor' Shake-Up: Simon Cowell Makes Right Decision But Puts Pressure on Himself

Reid, a veteran music executive, was among the talents who truly shined during the show's inaugural run, showing no hesitation when it came to expressing his opinion honestly. In fact, his candid critiques had many thinking Reid was meaner than one-time Mr. Nasty, Cowell.

Who else might be sitting to his and Cowell's side on next year's X Factor? THR's high-level source says rumors of Beyonce being offered an obscene amount of money are nothing more than that, but Mariah Carey, who drew instant and universal speculation when the firings were announced (the pop star was due to guest on the show during the judge's house round last year), is indeed being considered as show producers look towards strengthening their female and Midwest appeal. 

VIDEO: 'X Factor's' Melanie Amaro Earns 'Respect' for Pepsi Super Bowl Commercial With Elton John

No word yet on when an official announcement might be made. 

Twitter: @THRMusic