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'American Idol' Rumors: Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler to Replace Ellen DeGeneres?

by Gary Susman, posted Jul 30th 2010 11:10AM
Jennifer LopezEllen DeGeneres' abrupt resignation from 'American Idol' yesterday looks like only the beginning of a period of upheaval at the judges' table. By the time the dust settles, Kara DioGuardi may be gone as well -- and those three vacancies (the third coming from Simon Cowell's long-planned departure) may be filled by only two judges. And one of them will almost certainly be Jennifer Lopez.

Confused? Here's a roundup of all the 'Idol' news that's broken over the last half-day or so since Ellen DeGeneres' announcement.

• In the wake of rumors of various pop stars (Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Jessica Simpson) taking over one of the vacant judges' chairs, the one that seems to be true is J.Lo taking Ellen's spot. According to Deadline Hollywood, the negotiation has been going on quietly for a month, as the once indomitable triple-threat star (music, movies, TV) sought a platform where she could shore up her flagging popularity. The move would return her to the Fox network, where her career began 20 years ago as a Fly Girl dancer on Fox's sketch comedy show 'In Living Color.'

Us Weekly is confirming the hiring of J.Lo -- and the firing of DioGuardi. (TMZ also says it has talked to sources at 'Idol' that confirm DioGuardi's ouster.) All three news outlets say that Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is all but set to replace Cowell, but that no one is replacing DioGuardi, and that after the two-year experiment that saw her expand the judging panel to four seats, it will go back to three.

•All these changes seem to be the result of the recent return of producer Nigel Lythgoe after a two-year absence. Back in April, before he was rehired, Lythgoe told Zap2It.com that, if he had his way, he'd replace the entire panel. For his dream table of judges, he'd have brought back Paula Abdul and added Elton John and Usher. Instead, it looks like he's getting Lopez and Tyler and keeping Randy Jackson.

•Did Ellen quit or did Lythgoe push her? DeGeneres' statement yesterday acknowledged that 'Idol' wasn't the "right fit" for her because she had trouble criticizing contestants and because she was already so busy with her daytime talk show duties. It also said she was only sticking around long enough for the 'Idol' team to figure out how to remake the judges' panel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, she'd been saying (before yesterday) that she was willing to fulfill the terms of her multiyear contract. At the same time, the Reporter says, she was also telling friends that her comedy wasn't working on the show, and that Fox reality programming chief Mike Darnell had told her he thought her lack of chemistry with Jackson and DioGuardi was hurting the program. DeGeneres had reportedly clashed with Cowell as well, but yesterday, he issued a statement saying, "As I got to know Ellen, I grew to really, really like her. I have huge respect for her because she's always been in control of her own destiny." (Possible translation: I'm glad the show let DeGeneres save face by quitting instead of firing her.)

Watch for further announcements and official confirmations on Monday, when Fox has its day before the nation's TV critics at the annual summer press tour.

•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.

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dmarti312

I do NOT want to see Jennifer Lopez. Try as she might to convince us that she's still "Jenny from the block," as she claims; then why is it one of her demands is she'll only do the show if they make her stand out. She wants to be the only female on the panel. Can't take a little competition, JLo? (Notice all the female judges saying Buh Bye?) News Flash JNo, You're a diva and it's ugly. If you have to depend on somebody else to make you "Stand Out" you need to realize it's time to pack it in.

August 04 2010 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cgray

the shows biggest mistake was letting any of the original judges go...the show makes millions...should have paid anything to keep them together...

August 01 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SickofMichael

No to Jessica Simpson, JLo, Timberlake, Howard Stern. Yes to Brett Michaels or maybe Steven Tyler. But only have 3 judges - 4 is too many. Too much talking and repeating one another.

August 01 2010 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jerry6

To: SASSYPAM

How could I comment if I had not read the article?

Like, how could I know that the Bible is just a collection of fiction stories, if I had not read it?

July 31 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janis Balzano

There was a great team when Paula was there. Adding Kara ruined the whole thing. Then letting Paula go & getting Ellen was just too much. I really like Ellen but not in that role. Randy is an anchor with Simmon the pilot. Too bad that got all scrambled. I don't know if we'll be watching this year. And we have been faithful.

July 31 2010 at 4:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bazel

I do think Kara needs to go. It was a mistake to let Paula go, and Kara is a F-L-O-P major!! I did like Ellen, but oh well. J Lo is qaulified, but not sure she has the charisma to hold the position (maybe). Hey, Cyndi Lauper would be fantastic!!

July 31 2010 at 4:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandy solomon

you can count me out now that the simon is leaving the show !! these new judges are simply plastic and have no business on this type of show!! like really jennifer lopez ( UCK ) what a joke she is, high mantiance and not a good match for the show!!!!!!! please bring back PAULA NOW SHE'S SOMEONE THAT EVERYONE CAN RELATE TO. NEW JUDGES ( COUNT MY FAMILY GONE, SUCH A MESSED UP BUNCH OF BAD JUDGES THEY SURLY WILL NOT LAST ANOTHER SEASON !!!!!!!!!!

July 31 2010 at 4:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
margie

Time to retire American Idol.
The winners in most cases don't make it but the runner ups excel. The show is and has been boring for the past two seasons.

July 31 2010 at 3:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toughhombre

Wow! What incredible reasoning the show producers are using. They are replacing a couple of losers and know nothings by considering two more know nothings and losers. They want to shore up Lopez' flagging popularity? Is that the purpose of the Idol show? For God's sake get some top music geniuses on that ridiculous judges panel. Get a Harry Connick Jr., a Quincy Jones, somebody who is educated in GOOD MUSIC AND PERFORMS IT! With the lineup they are talking about this show is DONE!

July 31 2010 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wallstreetpuppy

Get rid of that bum Randy Jackson. He is about as lame as that dopehead brother Michael and enough is enough just because of color. Its talent, stupid

July 31 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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