LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – Jennifer Lopez says it was her choice to leave “American Idol” — but the singer was actually dumped by Fox when she asked for a $2 million raise in salary to $17 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told TheWrap.
Fox also opted not to pick up Steven Tyler’s option, the person said. Tyler announced his departure Thursday, saying he had decided to devote his energies to his first love, Aerosmith. Lopez said she wanted to focus on other aspects of her career and her children.
The exits – and the possible departure of Randy Jackson, widely speculated to be considering an exit after judging on all 11 seasons of the former No. 1 show – come as it undergoes another dramatic overhaul, just two seasons after the show was retooled by introducing Tyler and Lopez.
The insider said top Fox executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly want to revamp the show, and that Rice has told colleagues he wants an “Idol 2.0,” of which host Ryan Seacrest would be the only essential ingredient.
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A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment.
The insider said J. Lo’s fee went from $12 million in her first season to $15 million in her second. When she asked for another $2 million, the network surprised her by not making a counteroffer.
“Idol” lost its top spot in the ratings to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” last season after eight years of dominance. In their two seasons, Tyler and Lopez helped prop up the show. But they could not return it to its former dominance as the sing-off market became glutted with competition, including NBC’s “The Voice” and Fox’s “X Factor” from ex-“Idol” judge Simon Cowell.
That glut – which also includes ABC’s “Duets” – has created a mini gold rush for singers.
Many music stars are being considered to replace Lopez and Tyler, including Mariah Carey – whom Cowell has long sought for “X Factor” – Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and Lenny Kravitz.
If Jackson stays with “Idol,” he has an inside track with Carey that his former “Idol” colleague lacked: Jackson is Carey’s manager.