Fox Boss Mum On ‘American Idol’ Judges: No One Has Signed A Deal Yet

'American Idol'

'American Idol'

Let the speculation… continue!

Despite previous reports that Fox would break some news at its Television Critics Association press tour panels as regards the future of ‘American Idol,’ network entertainment chairman Peter Rice regretfully had nothing to spill on Monday morning.

“I truly wish that we were going to walk out a panel of judges for next year… [but] that’s not going to happen,” Rice told the throngs of anticipatory press members.

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Rice led off Fox’s exec session by discussing Ellen DeGeneres’ announced departure from the judges’ table – “she didn’t feel it was a good fit for her [so] we came to the agreement that we would look for new judges.” That news however only fueled “another round of speculation” that he was unwilling to address on a case-by-case basis.

“The only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty right now is that no one has signed a deal yet,” Rice maintained.

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Coming off a week during which names such as Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Jessica Simpson got heavy play as possible new panelists, Rice only said, “There’s been tremendous speculation. Much… is accurate, and some is wildly inaccurate.”

Nor would he confirm Nigel Lythgoe’s return as executive producer or the number of judges (three? four?) expected to sit at the dais come January 2011.

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So when can ‘Idol’ fans count on finding out who will be judging Season 10?

“We certainly plan to have a judges panel signed by [September],” Rice said, at which time they’ll be needed for the next round of auditions.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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