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July 25, 2014

No 'American Idol' Deals In Place Yet, Say Fox Execs - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2010 3:13PM
Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly at the FOX executive session at the Summer 2010 TCAsThe highly-anticipated FOX executive session got underway with a bit of non-news, with the network's entertainment chairman, Peter Rice, saying that "No one has signed a deal yet on either side of the camera to join 'American Idol' that wasn't there last year."

This means that there's no deal for Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler to be judges, no deal for Nigel Lythgoe to return as executive producer. Rice and FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly both deflected questions from the gathered critics about the 'Idol' judging panel, including the status of Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson. Rice would not get into speculating about the judges because "it's not fair to those being speculated about."

All he would really say is that some of the speculation around who the new names are going to be is close to true, and a lot of it is wildly false. One thing Reilly did say in the reporter's scrum after the panel is that the goal is to announce all the changes at once. Whether they'll be able to do that or not is obviously going to be determined on when they get the deals done.

More on the FOX exec panel after the jump...

-- Rice mentioned that the two parts of 'Idol' that must be serviced are a) the music and contestants, and b) the "alchemy" between the judges. What that means is likely that they want to get people with differing opinions and temperaments, but who have chemistry together. Obviously, they can't find a Simon Cowell clone, but they're going to need someone there to give an opinion.

-- Reilly joked that he "nodded off" while Rice was peppered with 'Idol' questions, so he asked Rice a question to "get back in the game.' He also answered a pretty tough question on last season's lack of contestant showmanship by saying, "First, let me tell you who the judges are going to be this year."

-- I asked Reilly about 'Glee' and if they're afraid the show might be getting overexposed -- I think I said that shows like this have a history of crashing and burning in their second years. After a beat in which he said "ok...," he said that the show's white-hot status is a "high-class problem" to have. However, fans are still enthusiastic to see the show, even after it being all over the place this past year, and are even asking to see more stories about the secondary characters. "Hopefully the hoopla will die down a bit (this year), and I think that'll be healthy," he said.

-- The reason why 'Terra Nova' will preview in May, but not debut until the fall, is mainly due to logistics, says Rice. Even though the show is going to have a lot of digital effects, they still have to find locations and work on other aspects of the show. The sheer scope of it means that "even locking in a location has had a unique set of challenges," he said.

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