As expected, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice told the nation’s TV reporters today that he had nothing new to report on the ongoing negotiations with potential American Idol judges, other than to say that “no one has signed a deal on either side of the camera who wasn’t on the show last year.” He did hint that “much of the information that has been written is accurate,” but he also added that some reports written have “been widely inaccurate.”
So far, Fox has not confirmed reports that former Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe would return or that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would replace Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres when the show returns in the spring.
“The goal has to be to put on a great TV show,” Rice told reporters who gathered at Fox’s annual TV Critics Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. “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 No. 1 TV show, the scrutiny is enormous,” Rice continued. “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.”
Rice did acknowledge that he began talking to DeGeneres in June about her wanting to leave, and that he tried to persuade her to stay.