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This story first appeared in the May 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Simon Cowell is downsizing The X Factor.
The May 20 hiring of Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio as season-three judges is likely to save Fox and producers FremantleMedia and Cowell’s Syco a lot of cash.
PHOTOS: ‘The X Factor’ Finale in Pictures: A Country King, a Teen Diva and a Girl Group
Sources tell THR that the new recruits will cost a fraction of the $15 million that Britney Spears commanded in season two: around $1 million for former Destiny’s Child singer Rowland, 32, and closer to $1.5 million for Rubio, 41, a Mexican singer-actress who also pulls down a judge’s salary for La Voz Kids, a Spanish-language kids version of The Voice airing on Telemundo.
Even with Spears joining Cowell, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato last season, X Factor lost 20 percent of its 18-to-49 audience, with ad revenue dropping from $502 million in year one to $386 million in 2012, according to Kantar Media.
STORY: Kelly Rowland Gets Candid on Resenting Beyonce, Abuse in ‘Dirty Laundry’
Rowland is making about what Lovato received when she joined the show. It’s believed Lovato asked for double her fee after her well-received debut on the show.
According to reports, Rowland earned about $750,000 for her one-season turn on X Factor U.K. in 2011, so her new pay actually is a small raise. Says a source close to the dealmaking: “Salaries are all over the place because ratings are all over the place.” That’s especially true of X Factor, adds the insider, which has struggled to find its footing.
A Fox rep declined comment.
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