Simon Cowell sits on a balcony overlooking the pool at the Beverly Hilton hotel and lights another cigarette. It's a tumultuous time for the fiery Brit, whose baby-daddy drama is dominating tabloid headlines just a month before The X Factor is set to premiere its do-or-die third season in the United States. But Cowell has rarely appeared more at ease. "I think you're really going to like it more this year," he says of his singing competition.
After last season's addition of judge Britney Spears proved to be a multimillion-dollar dud and original panelist L.A. Reid jumped ship (Demi Lovato is the only holdover from Season 2), Cowell again restructured the panel, this time focusing on experience and chemistry. Enter Kelly Rowland, a former member of Destiny's Child who worked on the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2011, and Paulina Rubio, a Latina superstar whose previous gigs include coaching the Mexican edition of The Voice. Mario Lopez will take on full hosting duties, after sharing last season with Khloe Kardashian.
The format itself is also undergoing some tweaks. Here, Cowell and his team discuss the show's new direction.
Sofia Vergara has been engaged to Nick Loeb for more than a year, but she hasn't finalized any plans for their wedding.
The Modern Family star is contemplating doing a "tiny" celebration, she told Extrahost Mario Lopez, in part because she went all out for her 40th birthday last year with a celebration that included more than 100 people.
Multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez has another job to add to her resume: Chief Creative Officer of NUVOtv. The first and only English-language network for Latinos officially launches Wednesday with Lopez's biography special, Jennifer Lopez: Her Life, Her Journey (July 18, 8/7c).
After the documentary comes A Step Away (9/8c), a docu-reality series that follows Lopez's professional dancers behind the scenes on her world tour, and the reality show House of Joy (10/9c), which goes inside the lives of Grammy-winning producer Rodney Jerkins and his wife, Joy Enriquez. Premiere week also features YouTube star Anjelah Johnson (Bon Qui Qui, Nail Salon) in a one-hour comedy special, Anjelah Johnson: The Homecoming Show (July 20, 9/8c) and Mario Lopez in Mario Lopez: One on One (July 20, 10:30/9:30c), a celebrity sit-down series that puts Gloria Estefan, Eva Longoria and Mark Sanchez in the hot seat.
We caught up with Lopez to get the inside scoop on...
Because the world doesn't have enough Spears!
Britney Spears said this week in an interview that she hopes to have a daughter to join her two sons, Sean and Jayden.
"Aww, I want a girl," Spears said during an interview with Extra's Mario Lopez in which the two former child stars bonded over their offspring.
When Tate Stevens' wife told him that she had signed him up to audition for The X Factor in Kansas City last year without his knowledge, he was less than enthusiastic about the idea, even telling her flat-out that he wasn't going to go.
"We'd watched the first season," Stevens tells TVGuide.com. "We watched American Idol, The Voice. We watched all those shows. And you see, 15, 20,000 people standing outside in lines. I'm like, 'There's no way I'm going to stand in those lines. No. Not gonna happen.'"
But his wife wouldn't take no for an answer.