Will Tommy Mottola Replace Simon Cowell On 'American Idol'?

Former head of Sony Music and Mariah Carey's ex-husband is the reported top choice.

While plenty of names have been tossed around as potential replacements for Simon Cowell, when the acerbic British judge leaves "American Idol" after this season, the one name almost nobody has mentioned is reportedly the leading candidate.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the show's first choice to take Cowell's place is former Sony Music boss Tommy Mottola, who helmed the company during Michael Jackson's heyday and was once married to Mariah Carey. The only problem? Apparently Cowell also has his eyes on Mottola as a possible judge for his soon-to-launch reality talent competition "The X Factor."

The site reports that the "Idol" brain trust has come up with a list of 25 potential Cowell replacements, and 60-year-old Mottola — owner of Casablanca Records — is at the top. Given his 15-year stint at the top of Sony Music Entertainment and long career in the music industry, Mottola is a strong candidate based on his credentials and ability to nurture talent, but his camera readiness is unknown. Over his career, Mottola has helped the careers of everyone from Hall & Oates to John Mellencamp, Carey, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez.

The reported second choice is 38-year-old Guy Oseary, Madonna's longtime business partner and former head of her Maverick Records, followed by Interscope/Geffen/A&M boss and music-industry legend Jimmy Iovine, who has helmed the careers of Eminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and dozens of others, along with producing albums by U2, Tom Petty and Patti Smith.

A spokesperson for "Idol" network Fox declined to comment on the report, and a Casablanca Records spokesperson could not be reached for comment. Cowell announced earlier this month that the current season of "Idol" will be his last with the show.

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