American Idol undergoing overhaul


There should be an “under construction” side at the now venerable Fox Television reality icon “American Idol.” According to widespread reports, the program, which has long known it was losing lynchpin Simon Cowell, is going from four judges back to three, with only one original member, who will also be the lone survivor from the 2010 edition of the program.

Cowell’s exit was known while this year’s 9th season even began. Then after only one year, Ellen DeGeneres went public with plans to exit that program, a desire executives had been aware of for some time. She cited scheduling difficulties, and distaste for criticizing the show’s contestants. Shortly thereafter came word that Kara DioGuardi was on the chopping block.

That leaves only charter judge Randy Jackson in the fold.

Two people with top level credibility in the music biz have surfaced as Jackson’s partners as the show returns to its original three-judge format. They are Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler.

However, Fox has not yet commented on its plans for filling the judge’s table for the next edition of the program.

RBR-TVBR observation: Observers love to talk about the program showing signs of wear and tear, with thinning ratings. Of course, there is not a show in production anywhere that wouldn’t be thrilled with American Idol ratings, even in their thin state. Fox has every reason to reformulate and carry on.

Will the new panel be able to capture the lightning in a bottle that has characterized the show? Who knows? But we’d bet they will get their chance. We strongly suspect that most who have ever tuned into Idol in the past, including those who were less and less likely to tune in, will be back to see how the format works with the new cast, at least in the beginning.

That means that Jackson, Lopez and Tyler will not have a lot of time to get comfortable – they’d better be prepared to come out smoking hot.