Monday is the day when American Idol changes forever.
According to an industry source close to the situation, Fox and Idol's production company, 19 Entertainment, have made their decision on a replacement for departing judge Simon Cowell — and will make an announcement at the network's Television Critics Association summer press tour presentation on Aug. 2.
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But the announcement could be much bigger than who will sit in Cowell's chair. Ellen DeGeneres, who was uncomfortable criticizing contestants, is not a certainty to return. Nor is original judge Randy Jackson. That points to a possible clean sweep of the judges panel, as Kara DioGuardi reportedly does not have a deal for next season. Nigel Lythgoe, who is expected to return as Idol's executive producer, was quoted several months ago as saying he'd like to put an entirely new panel on television's top-rated show. He apparently still feels that way.
"Nigel wants to make changes," says one executive who has spoken with him recently.
Bringing in more than one new judge explains the numerous names that have surfaced recently. Reportedly rocker Chris Isaak, crooner Harry Connick Jr., and Jessica Simpson have been in talks about joining the show.
Fox has been in lockdown on the subject of Idol and will not comment on any pending announcement.
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