Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez
Ellen DeGeneres is out after just one season as a judge on American Idol, and Deadline reports that Jennifer Lopez may take her place.
Fox would not comment on the Lopez report, but did release a statement Thursday from DeGeneres, who replaced Paula Abdul after she left the show one year ago.
"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres said in a statement. "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."
DeGeneres joined the show in Season 9 — which was also judge Simon Cowell's last season — while continuing to host her syndicated talk show. "It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for," DeGeneres said.
Nigel Lythgoe eyes return to American Idol
As a judge, DeGeneres was known for her offbeat style and generosity toward the singers — which made her a counterpoint to the often acerbic Cowell.
"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," she said. "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."
Idol host Ryan Seacrest addressed DeGeneres' departure on his radio show the following morning.
"Obviously I know her well, so I am sad she's not going to be on the show with us, but happy if this is what she wants to do," he said. "We will miss Ellen DeGeneres, we love Ellen DeGeneres, and it's not like she needs the work, right?"
Fox is expected to announce Cowell's replacement at the Television Critics Association's fall previews Monday, though there's no word yet on whether it will also announce a replacement for DeGeneres.
Calls and e-mails to Lopez's reps were not immediately returned.