Ellen is out as Idol judge - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Ellen is out as Idol judge

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ellen DeGeneres is dancing off "American
Idol" after one season, leaving Fox's hit show with two vacancies
on its judging panel.

If the singing contest intends to revamp itself to stem a
ratings slide, it has the opportunity to bring in two new faces for
season 10 in January.

Fox has yet to announce a replacement for Simon Cowell, who left
after the season finale in May to start a new talent show for the
network.

"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. The comedian-talk show host said she
realized that while she "loved discovering, supporting and
nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and
sometimes hurt their feelings."

DeGeneres said she told the network she would delay any action
until it had time to "figure out where they wanted to take the
panel next."

A Fox statement contained no announcement of a replacement for
DeGeneres. The network could make an announcement Monday, when it
presents its 2010-11 programming schedule to members of the
Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills.

Judge, Kara DioGuardi, who was brought in two years ago to
replace Paula Abdul, is not under contract for next year and Fox
has not announced whether she'll return.

"It was a joy to work with Ellen," said Mike Darnell,
president of alternative entertainment for Fox. "She brought an
incredible spirit to Idol."

When DeGeneres joined the show, proclaiming herself a fan of"American Idol" and a pop aficionado, observers noted she didn'tbring music industry expertise to her role.

Some observers complained she proved more of a cheerleader than an incisive critic
in the mold of Cowell.

She had a reported two-year contract.

"American Idol" was the nation's favorite program last season,
the seventh time it's held that position. But it showed rare
vulnerability, beaten in the weekly ratings several times by ABC's
"Dancing with the Stars."

A total of 24.2 million viewers watched the ninth season's final
duel between Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, compared to the
nearly 29 million viewers who saw Kris Allen win over Adam Lambert
last year.

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