Ellen DeGeneres leaves her post as American Idol judge [Update: JLo takes her place]

Ellen DeGeneres has decided to call it quits after only one year as the judge who just couldn’t fit in on American Idol.  Today FOX released two statements, one from DeGeneres and the other from the network itself.

DeGeneres: “A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next.  It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.   I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on IDOL and I am very grateful for the year I had.  I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”

Peter Rice, FOX Chairman of Entertainment: “We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of Idol. We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.”

According to the latest reports, American Idol creator Simon Fuller will be back for season 10, and he hopes to bring new judges to the panel.  Judge Simon Cowell left the show to produce the American version of The X Factor, and this leaves a huge gap to fill.  Justin Timberlake and Elton John are currently in talks with the network concerning this matter.  The state of Kara Dioguardi and our main dawg Randy Jackson remains up in the air until a final decision is made.  The Television Critics Tour begins this Monday; it would be wise for FOX to steal the show by announcing an exciting new panel of judges there.

Update:  According to a report from Deadline, Jennifer Lopez will take DeGeneres’ place as a new American Idol judge for season 10.  FOX and JLo’s reps have yet to comment on the breaking news.  Deadline also spills that “unconfirmed reports” target Steven Tyler as a possible Cowell replacement (that’s in addition to Justin Timberlake and Elton John).

[Via EW-HollywoodInsider]

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