$5 million contract for X Factor called “largest guaranteed prize in television history”

Fox’s fall singing competition The X Factor will award its winner a $5 million record deal with Simon Cowell and Sony Music’s Syco, a prize Fox calls “the largest guaranteed prize in television history.”

NBC’s Treasure Hunters gave away $3 million, but it was $1 million per person and also given as an annuity, which is how America’s Got Talent avoids giving away $1 million in cash. And Rob Mariano’s Tontine promised a $10 million prize, but that ended in a fake bloody massacre.

Fox is pushing X Factor hard, starting with two great ads that aired during the Super Bowl and Glee last night, and continuing this afternoon with a conference call with Simon Cowell, who will likely announce that Cheryl Cole is joining the series as a judge.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.