Fox's presentation Monday (August 2) at the Television Critics Association press tour came and went with no clarity on the future of the "American Idol" judging panel. So there's still no word whether those Jennifer Lopez rumors are true, no confirmation of the claims that two-season judge Kara DioGuardi has been axed and not a whisper about Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler taking Simon Cowell's place behind the table.
What Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice did tell the nation's TV reporters, though, was that much of what you've heard is true, but a bunch of it is also totally false.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Rice said he couldn't provide an update on the ongoing negotiations with potential "Idol" judges, except to say that "no one has signed a deal on either side of the camera who wasn't on the show last year." As for the Lopez, DioGuardi and Tyler whispers, he offered cryptically, "much of the information that has been written is accurate," but added that some of the reports have also been "widely inaccurate."
He also did not confirm reports that former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is slated to make a return to the show after two seasons away. "The goal has to be to put on a great TV show," Rice said. "There is a journey finding these kids, and there is sort of alchemy (to achieve) on the judges' panel. Does that mean we should replace them identically and cast the same person? I don't think so, but we have the obligation to put on the best TV show. Simon's departure meant there was going to be a natural evolution. ... When we are working with the #1 TV show, the scrutiny is enormous. I truly wish we were going to [debut] a panel of judges and that could be a celebration for us, and we could engage with you on that; I'm sorry that is not going to happen."
A spokesperson for "Idol" has offered a "no comment" on the various reports about the changes in the judges' panel, and representatives for Lopez, Tyler and DioGuardi have not returned requests for comment.
Confirming what DeGeneres wrote in her note last week announcing her departure, Rice said he began talking to her about her desire to leave the show in June and that he was unable to persuade her to give it one more year.
The current plan calls for the show to have a full panel of judges by the time the auditions for upcoming season 10 kick off in earnest in September.
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