Khloe Kardashian is getting fired as co-host of "The X Factor" U.S., according to several insiders who spoke to me this week on condition of anonymity. Her "X Factor" ouster will be among the sweeping changes that sources say the show is making in 2013 in an effort to increase ratings, after the show lost millions of viewers in 2012.
The official announcements about who is getting fired should be made by the end of January 2013 or early February 2013. "X Factor" U.S. decision makers will then have enough time to find any replacements for the fired employees before auditions begin in front of the show's judges in May 2013.
For now, "X Factor" U.S. representatives are refusing to comment on any changes that the show is making in 2013.
This won't be the first time that "The X Factor" U.S. is undergoing a major overhaul. In May 2012, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato replaced fired judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, In October 2012, Kardashian and Mario Lopez replaced fired host Steve Jones. Abdul, Scherzinger and Jones were dismissed from "The X Factor" at the end of January 2012.
Despite these changes, and even though "X Factor" U.S. executives had hoped that Spears' presence on the show would increase ratings in 2012, the opposite happened. In 2011 for the show's first season, "The X Factor" U.S. averaged 12 million U.S. viewers per episode, according to Nielsen Research. In 2012, the show's rating plummeted to an average of 8 million U.S. viewers per episode.
Several sources told Us Weekly that Spears, 31, is getting fired from "The X Factor" because her dull personality on the show and her reported $15 million "X Factor" salary could not justify her being on the show in 2013 after she failed to increase ratings in 2012. Lovato, 20, is also rumored to be getting fired after she received many viewer complaints about her ability to mentor contestants. In December 2012, Antonio "L.A." Reid, 56, quit the show's judging panel because he said that he wants to spend more time focusing on his main job as chairman/CEO of Epic Records. His replacement on "The X Factor" is to be announced.
At this point, "The X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell, 53, is the only judge who is guaranteed to remain on "The X Factor" U.S.
Kardashian, 28, was a controversial choice from the beginning, since she had no prior experience hosting a TV show. Her main claim to fame is being on staged reality shows with her family. Kardashian received countless complaints from most "X Factor" viewers, who often described her as "unprofessional," "awkward" and "horrible" as a TV host. Many viewers said they were boycotting "The X Factor" U.S. (which is televised in the U.S. on Fox) as long as Kardashian was on the show and they demanded that Kardashian get fired.
After Kardashian joined the show, the "The X Factor" U.S. lost an average of 1 million to 1.5 million viewers per episode. Before she was on "The X Factor" U.S., the show was averaging 9 million viewers per episode. After she joined the show, it started averaging 7.5 million to 8 million viewers per episode.
Cowell was one of Kardashian's biggest champions. In several interviews, he incorrectly predicted that she would be a hit with viewers, and he ignored people who warned him that Kardashian would be a train wreck because of her lack of experience.
Kardashian caused so many viewer complaints and boycotts that several key "X Factor" decision makers see her as a liability, according to sources.
An insider revealed, "Khloe just isn't worth the hassle. Too many viewers hate her. Sponsors started to find out that people were boycotting the show because of her. When you have someone on the show who's having a negative impact with sponsors, it's time to dump that person."
Another insider said, "People at Fox and a lot of viewers have been questioning Simon's judgment because he personally fought to have Khloe on the show. The network executives were very nervous about hiring a host with no experience. And they were right to be nervous. Khloe has been a nightmare. No amount of TV training for her can save the situation. She's alienated too many viewers."
Fox has lost millions in advertising revenue because of the steep decline in "The X Factor" U.S. ratings in 2012. Because the ratings have failed to meet expectations, Fox has had to discount or reduce fees for advertisers and other sponsors who were promised a certain level of ratings that "The X Factor" U.S. did not deliver. These revenue losses are often not reported in the media because the advertising revenue that is reported is what the network charged before the season began, i.e., before the actual ratings for that season existed.
So why was Kardashian hired in the first place? It was all part of "The X Factor" U.S.'s failed marketing strategy to cater more to teenage girls in 2012. (The majority of fans for Kardashian, Spears and Lovato are teen girls and young women.) However, this misguided strategy was a flop, as the show lost millions of viewers, many over the age of 25. The coveted demographic for advertisers is 18-to-49-year-olds.
Sources say that in light of 37-year-old country singer Tate Stevens winning on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2012 and the failed strategy to appeal to more female teenyboppers, "The X Factor" U.S. has been forced to rethink its marketing strategy for 2013 and has to figure out a way to win back the older viewers who were turned off by Spears, Kardashian and Lovato being on the show.
As for "The X Factor" U.S. co-host Lopez, 39, he has his share of fans and critics, but he's not getting anywhere near the number of complaints as Kardashian is. He is an experienced TV host, who has emceed shows such as syndicated celebrity news program "Extra," MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," NuvoTv talk show "Mario Lopez: One on One," the ALMA Awards and the Miss America Pageant.
The National Enquirer reported that Lopez and Kardashian were paid $1 million each for "The X Factor" in 2012, but that salary number could not be verified by reliable sources.
Sources say that it has not yet been determined if Lopez will be asked to return to "The X Factor" because the "powers that be" have to decide if the show will have a host for the live episodes only (such as in 2012) or if the show will have a host throughout the entire season (such as in 2011).
There is some question if Lopez will be able to get time off from "Extra" to attend "X Factor" auditions in front of the judges, boot camp and the "judges' houses" phases of the competition, which are all prerecorded and take place in various cities from May to September.
In 2012, the show's prerecorded episodes did not have a host, and the episodes got mixed-to-negative reviews. One of the biggest complaints from viewers was that the backstage drama looked very fake and staged. Indeed, several former "X Factor" U.S. contestants from 2012, such as CeCe Frey, Paige Thomas and Sophie Simmons, have publicly stated that the show had misleading editing that created drama that did not exist in real life. For example, Thomas and Simmons have said in interviews that the show made it look like Frey had conflicts with them when in reality, they said they had no problems with Frey.
As for Kardashian, she told MTV News at the end of December 2012 that she wanted to continue to co-host "The X Factor" U.S. in 2013: "I would love to come back. To do something on this magnitude, I'm so honored and blessed and I just love that I've been able to grow through this whole experience. So I've had a phenomenal time."