The big question up until now, with regard to “American Idol”, was “Who will replace Simon Cowell?” Although that question still remains unanswered, another question has joined the queue – “Who will replace Ellen DeGeneres?” Ellen left the show even though she had 4 more years left on her contract.

With one well established judge and one people friendly judge gone, there were also rumors that Kara DioGuardi had been fired leaving three spots vacant on the judging panel. The chairman of Fox Entertainment, Peter Rice, refused to comment on that matter which in turn gave the rumor more substance. When asked about the rumors that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler had been tied up as replacement judges, Rice said that no such deals had been signed.

The show has been in trouble for a few years now as viewership has steadily declined. In the last 4 years it has lost a total of six million viewers and this was probably a key reason for lynchpin judge Simon Cowell to leave the show. The drop has also seen Idol valiantly defending its number one spot in the ratings.

There have been rumors that Nigel Lythgoe would come back to the show in order to conduct massive make-overs, but Rice refused to comment on this story as well. He did say that big changes would be in place for the next season of Idol but did not elaborate further. The only thing he did admit to was that the judges would be in place when auditions get underway in mid-September.

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