'X Factor' fans got quite a shock this week when L.A. Reid revealed he wouldn't be returning for the third season of the series. Now it looks like Britney Spears may follow him out. Say it ain't so!

Radar Online reports that if Spears returns, it would be with a major pay cut -- and that it may be a dealbreaker for the pop legend. “Britney, who was signed on a one-year deal, is the first person who will be expected to have her salary chopped," a source said. "She is on a $15 million contract, which is absurd given that there's been no huge surge in the ratings. Problem is, when Britney signed that contract she expected to make more if an extension for a third season was agreed. That won’t be the case now, and it is highly unlikely Britney will accept a pay decrease.”

When Spears signed her deal, she became the highest paid reality show singing judge ever, but it hasn't proved to be a hugely worthwhile investment. While Spears is an 'X Factor' fan favorite and proved to be an amazing judge and mentor, she and fellow judge Demi Lovato haven't brought in huge numbers.

"Producers were hoping to pull in between 15-20 million viewers but the show hasn’t reached those expectations and in a recent episode that clashed with the World Series only 5.7 million watched," a source added. "Those numbers add up to cost cutting and Britney will be expendable ... considering Fox has already renewed 'X Factor' for a third season, producers will be looking to spend less on the production of the show, including the judges' salaries."

While Spears' presence and banter may be tough to replace, money talks. Time will tell!

Watch the will.i.am 'Scream & Shout' Feat. Britney Spears