British singer Cheryl Cole, who was ousted as a judge on “The X Factor” U.S., is reportedly in a nasty battle with the show over her severance pay. News broke on May 25, 2011, that Cole was fired just a few weeks after it was announced that she was a judge on the show, and after she did only four audition dates (two in Los Angeles and two in Chicago).
“The X Factor” U.S. and Cole have yet to publicly comment on her exit from the show. Several British tabloids have reported that Cole is expected to get a payout of $1.9 million (or £1.2 million), as part of a termination clause in her contract.
Employment contracts typically have different severance-pay agreements, depending on if the employee is terminated by the employer or if the employee voluntarily quits. If the employee is terminated by the employer before the contract expires, and if the employee did not do anything illegal to warrant being fired, then it usually stipulates in the contract that the employer must pay the salary what was promised if the contract had been fulfilled.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cole and “The X Factor” production company FremantleMedia are in a dispute over the salary that she is owed, and her visa status allowing her to work in the U.S. is an issue:
Though Cole was dropped as a judge after only four days for reasons that remain unclear, a source close to Cole says Fremantle apparently is trying to avoid breaching her contract. “They don’t want to pay her,” this insider alleges. “It’s a chess match.”
According to this source, Fremantle has not fired Cole and in fact took steps Thursday [June 2, 2011] that will require her to appear shortly at the U.S. consulate in London to apply for a visa so she can perform as a judge. Fremantle executives could not be reached for comment.
Apparently Cole intends to apply for the visa.
The Cole insider says the singer would like to be paid for the work she was contracted to do “as a matter of principle. … She moved her whole life to Los Angeles.” Cole bought a house in Los Angeles expecting to serve as a judge on the show.
According to the source, Cole’s team believes Simon Cowell was behind her dismissal and says Cowell apparently expected that Cole would willingly return to the British version of the show, adding, “He thinks he can move people around like chess pieces.”
A representative for Cowell was not available for comment.
Simon Cowell’s Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America are the two production companies behind “The X Factor” U.S., which premieres on Fox in September 2011.
Cole was reportedly dropped from the show for not being a good fit on the judging panel. She has reportedly been replaced by Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally announced as a co-host of the show. “The X Factor” U.S. judges’ panel includes “The X Factor” executive producer Cowell, Paula Abdul and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
It is unknown at this point if Scherzinger will be replaced as co-host or if Steve Jones will host the show alone. “The X Factor” U.S. has not yet made an official announcement about the reported changes in the show’s judging/hosting lineup.
The new “X Factor” U.S. judges’ lineup is expected to debut when auditions resume on June 8, 2011, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. As previously reported, some of the footage that was already taped with Cole is still expected to be televised.
Cole was a judge on “The X Factor” U.K. from 2008 to 2010. After being fired from “The X Factor” U.S., Cole allegedly turned down an offer to return as a judge on “The X Factor” U.K., and she was replaced by Tulisa Contostavlos of the hip-hop group N-Dubz.
As previously reported, “The X Factor” U.K. announced its new panel of judges on May 30, 2011. Two days later, newly appointed judges Gary Barlow of Take That, former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland, and Contostavlos joined Louis Walsh (the show’s only original judge) for auditions in Birmingham, England.
Sources are telling the British tabloids that Cole is contemplating taking a break from the entertainment business until she decides what she wants to do next.