Ellen DeGeneres has exited from the judging panel of American Idol after one season. In a statement, the host of the Ellen show and former stand-up comedienne said that she let Fox execs know ‘a couple of months ago’ that ‘this didn’t feel like the right fit for me.’ DeGeneres also said that shooting Idol, combined with continuing her own talk show, added up to a work schedule that ‘became more than I bargained for.’ Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment for Fox, was quoted in the statement as saying that working with DeGeneres was ‘a joy… 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.’
As for who will take her place Deadline has reported that actress/singer Jennifer Lopez has signed on. Given that the news is making its way to other trades, an official announcement could come prior to Fox’s presentation this Monday at the TCA press tour. In other Idol news, it’s also being reported that Nigel Lythgoe’s return to the program as an exec producer is a done deal. As for who will replace the seemingly irreplaceable Simon Cowell, names being bandied about include Elton John, Justin Timberlake and most recently, Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler.