Deadline is reporting that Jennifer Lopez will be American Idol's new judge. The kicker: it's not Simon Cowell that she's replacing. Ellen DeGeneres announced yesterday that she's stepping down from her spot on the judging panel a year before her two-year contract with the show is up. She reportedly made her decision to leave months ago, but held off on the announcement until producers could line up sufficient star wattage to replace her.
Reports are that Fox execs' "dream scenario would be to make a splashy announcement at the [Television Critics Association upfront] on Monday morning" so that "They'd be the talk of TCA, and the message to other networks would essentially be, 'Follow that!'" That makes it all the more likely that Lopez news is completely true (multiple sources have confirmed it, but let's face it--it's not real until Fox announces it). It also makes it very likely--though less so than the Lopez news--that rumors of Steven Tyler replacing Cowell, Kara DioGuardi being fired, and Randy Jackson rounding out the panel as third judge are also true.
Here's some of Deadline's rundown of all the Idol news:
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, whose 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.
Read the full story at Deadline.