'X Factor' bosses are on a collision course with ITV - as the planned wage bill for the new judges tops 6 million pounds, reports thesun.co.uk. Sharon Osbourne, set to return after six years, is on course for between 1.5 million and 2 million pounds. Gary Barlow is looking to boost his 1.5 million pounds after agreeing to come back following talks with Simon Cowell.
Nicole Scherzinger is holding out for a similar deal to Gary's, plus benefits, including flying her own stylist and make-up team over from the US. Louis Walsh, who has a 1 million pounds deal, has been told he will be back. Last year's panel - who often tell singers: 'You made that song your own' - cost a lot less. Tulisa Contostavlos earned a reported 450,000 pounds, while Nicole got 750,000 pounds.
A source said ITV does not want to raise the 33 million pounds-a-series budget, agreed three years ago. Tense talks between show chief Richard Holloway and ITV boss Peter Fincham are set to take place tomorrow. Holloway, who runs production company Thames TV, is keen to sign up the judges as soon as possible so audition planning can begin for June.
An insider said: 'Producers know it will cost significantly more than last year. If there's a hold-up, it could mean someone is not given a judging role and it's back to the drawing board.' Other names have been mentioned as candidates but none followed up. A production source said: 'We know returning judges cost more. It's what happens if you negotiate every series.' A 'X Factor' spokesman said: 'No formal decisions have been taken.'