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The Call Sheet sifts through the day's glut of Hollywood news to find the stories even non-industry types care about. Today: Britney Spears might soon be joining Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise wants to sing some more, and NBC might have another dud on its hands.

Rumors are a'flyin' that Britney Spears, one-time pop teen queen turned shaved-headed, umbrella-wielding Tasmanian devil turned vaguely respectable dance music chanteuse, is close to signing a deal to be one of the new hosts on the second season of Simon Cowell's mostly failed vanity project The X Factor. Yeah, remember Paula Abdoooool and Nicole Pussycat got fired because nobody liked them and since then the hunt has been on for replacements. At one point Janet Jackson was going to do it but then dropped out of negotiations because presumably she wised up after actually watching an episode of the show. She said she's "going on tour" so now she has to spend the next twelve months riding around the country on a bus lest Simon start to get suspicious. But now Spears has been lured in, possibly by the fact that she's said to be getting some 10 million bones for her first season. Ten million dollars? That could buy a lot of solid gold ATVs or whatever else Spears likes to fill her house with. I think this could actually be pretty interesting. Spears has been undeniably successful as a pop act, so she can probably judge whether someone else has It by now. She's not much of a vocalist, but then again neither is Paula Abdul or Jennifer Lopez for that matter. So, yes, we support this! Go for it, Britters. But the minute the job makes you feel those old tinglies in your head and you start piningg for a lonely PowerWheels ride, it's time to quit. We don't want you going down that rabbit hole again. [The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]

Early reports are saying that Disney's big space epic John Carter, about an Abercrombie & Fitch model who takes a mysterious gig on Mars and ends up having to work as an alien sex slave or something, earned $500,000 from its midnight showings last night. The movie cost about $250,000,000 to make, so only $249,500,000 to go! You're on your way, Johnny boy! [Entertainment Weekly]

Tom Cruise is apparently in talks with director Clint Eastwood to join the cast of A Star Is Born, the big remake that already has Beyonce on board. Cruise would play a fading musician who falls in love with a younger starlet. He helps her rise to stardom while his own career flounders. So... it's basically what happened with Katie Holmes there for like a year or two? Remember when Katie Holmes was in Batman Begins and everyone was like "Ohh, she could be big..."? Yeah, well, that was that. Anyway, Cruise would have to sing, which he's also doing in the upcoming Rock of Ages, so is this the beginning of a new phase in his career? A singin' Tom Cruise? I, for one, would like to see that. I mean, what the hell, right? It's the nineties! Anything goes. Sing on, Cruisey. [Deadline]

Carla Gugino has joined Sigourney Weaver on the USA pilot Political Animals, which has Weaver playing a wacky lawyer a wacky fake psychic a wacky federal marshal the US Secretary of State. Gugino will play a zany Secret Service agent zany private eye zany therapist political reporter. Congrats to everyone! Wackiness for all! [The Hollywood Reporter]

The new NBC drama Awake plummeted in the ratings in its second week. That's not good news for show creator Kyle Killen, whose last big effort, the critically liked but apparently audience reviled Lone Star, was a huge flop last season. But mostly it's bad news for B.D. Wong. What if he needs to find a new TV psychiatry job?? He has to be a TV psychiatrist on something, so if this thing gets canceled, what will he do? Oh man, maybe he'd go back to SVU!!! That'd be great! OK, nobody watch Awake! Sorry, everyone involved with Awake, but we miss Dr. Huang. [Vulture]

Former Real Worlder Jacinda Barrett has been cast on a TV pilot. So, eat that, all you Challenge monsters. [Deadline]

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