August 2, 2010 – Comedian and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres has quit as a judge on “American Idol,” the hit pop music talent show has announced, with reports suggesting singer Jennifer Lopez might take her place.
The top-rated US TV series announced DeGeneres was going to “bow out” after serving on the judging panel in “Idol’s” ninth season.
“A couple months ago, I let Fox and the ‘American Idol’ producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” said DeGeneres in a written statement.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I’d bargained for.”
DeGeneres said she had put off her abrupt exit until producers found a replacement, though there was no official mention on who will fill her shoes.
Variety, the Hollywood industry magazine, reported that Lopez was a serious contender because of the pop star’s knowledge of music and her outgoing personality. People magazine quoted an insider saying: “It’s true.”
Other names mentioned by Variety were Justin Timberlake, Elton John and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.
DeGeneres’ decision to quit follows the departure earlier this year of the show’s acid-tongued mainstay, Simon Cowell, prompting “Idol” watchers to suggest that a major makeover is in the works for the show.
“We are not commenting on any speculation,” a spokeswoman for Fox Broadcasting Company, Gaude Lydia Paez, told AFP.
DeGeneres was not always popular with viewers as a judge on “Idol,” where she was seen as lacking the kind of abrasive, opinionated style that gives the reality show its edge.
But Fox sang her praises.
“While we’re saddened by her decision, we are very appreciative that she gave us ample notice so that we could work through it together,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, in a written statement.