RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Idol’ Down But Still Dominates; ‘Live To Dance’, ‘Chase’ Crushed

Nellie Andreeva

A lot is riding on American Idol at Fox, which usually turns from also-ran to a ratings leader overnight when the reality juggernaut hits the air. The pressure is not as great this season and the network has the Super … Read More »

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How Was ‘American Idol’ Without Simon?

Nellie Andreeva

For the past year, since Simon Cowell announced last January that he would leave American Idol to focus on bringing The X Factor to the U.S., there has been relentless speculation whether the veteran reality show would survive without its … Read More »

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TCA: No Villain On ‘Idol’ This Season

From Ray Richmond, who has been contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA coverage:
The hot new (read: Simon Cowell-less) American Idol got rolled out by Fox on Tuesday morning at the TCA confab in Pasadena, with new judges J-Lo and Steven … Read More »

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No Behind-the-Scenes ‘Idol’ Drama For Now

Nellie Andreeva

Despite a red-hot Glee, Fox’s fall lineup is shakier than expected as the network’s new series largely underperformed. That’s why a strong American Idol is crucial for Fox’s hopes to claim another season ratings win. But the talent show juggernaut finished last season at a record low, and lost its signature star Simon Cowell, and then embarked on a judges search that became a public spectacle. But now I’m hearing that, two weeks into the audition process for Season 10, the situation on the show seems to be settling down with no major controversies on the immediate horizon. Read More »

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JENNIFER LOPEZ IS NEW ‘IDOL’ JUDGE! Closed Deal This Week; Replaces Ellen Who Wanted Out of Contract: “It’s Not Been Fun”

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE 6:30 PM: We’ve just learned the backstory of how Ellen DeGeneres bowed out of American Idol and who will be the new judge taking her place. It’s Jennifer Lopez, JENNIFER LOPEZ 2whose singing and acting career has been on the skids after her recent movie failed at the box office in the spring and she was dropped by her record company Sony Music Epic Records this past winter. We hear her manager Benny Medina (whom she once fired) orchestrated the meeting with the American Idol producers a month ago, and negotiations have been ongoing ever since. We’ve learned a deal was closed earlier this week under the utmost secrecy. Today’s news came shortly after Nigel Lythgoe returned to Idol as an executive producer. He has vowed to shake up the show’s team of judges in the wake of the departure of Simon Cowell, publicly stating that he always thought a panel of three and not 4 made the most sense.

Still to be decided is who will replace Simon Cowell. Everyone associated with the show wants Elton John, but we hear he’s asking for too much money and has too many touring commitments he can’t get out of. (Denials That Justin Or Elton Judging ‘Idol’) 2ND UPDATE: Tonight, unconfirmed reports say Idol has offered Cowell’s judge seat to Steven Tyler. 3RD UPDATE: And another unconfirmed report claimed judge Kara DioGuardi has been fired to bring the panel count down to just 3, not 4.

As for Ellen Degeneres, we’re told she wanted off the show two months ago and complained that Idol producers “couldn’t control Cowell”, one insider tells us. Least of all Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the CEO of FremantleMedia North America. “Cecile is doing X Factor with Simon, so she’s in his back pocket.” DeGeneres and her reps went in to to see Fox Broadcasting’s Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice and Alternative TV President Mike Darnell and asked to be let out of the year left on her contract. “She’s not comfortable. She’s not happy. It’s not been fun,” Fox was told.  But Rice and Darnell responded that, with Cowell leaving, “We can’t let you out now because it would be bad for our franchise. Give us a chance to figure out who we could get.” In the end, all the show’s producers – Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment – worked it out. “Peter Rice was awesome,” an insider tells us. “Ellen is thrilled and relieved.” We’ve learned that serious conversations took place between Idol and Jessica Simpson to replace Ellen. But once Jennifer Lopez was locked in this week, the DeGeneres announcement went out. Read More »

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Denials That Justin Or Elton Judging ‘Idol’

2ND UPDATE: Deadline has learned that representatives for both Justin Timberlake and Elton John are denying there’s anything real behind that published rumor that both musicians are in talks to replace Simon Cowell as a … Read More »

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Nigel Lythgoe Returns to ‘Idol’ As EP

Nellie Andreeva

He was the first major member of the American idol team to depart the show. Now former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is finalizing a deal to return for the upcoming 10th season as the top-rated reality series is looking to … Read More »

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Reality Chief Mike Darnell Re-Ups At Fox

Nellie Andreeva

Mike_DarnellFox’s reality guru Mike Darnell is closing in on a 20-year anniversary at the network. Darnell has inked a new three-year contract to continue as president of alternative programming. That will bring his tenure at Fox to a whooping 19 years. … Read More »

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