Chris Isaak could replace Simon Cowell on "Idol"

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:09am EDT
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By James Hibberd and Kim Masters

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Could "American Idol" become a Wicked Game?

Folksy rock singer Chris Isaak has met twice with Fox as the search intensifies to replace caustic "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, the Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Isaak, in addition to penning hit songs like 1989's "Wicked Game," has appeared in a slew of TV series over the years, including "Eastwick," "Cold Case," "Smallville" and his own "Chris Isaak Show" for Showtime.

Another affable crooner, Harry Connick Jr., also has been considered.

Rocker Bret Michaels was given the once-over and even lobbied for the job last week in a Headline News interview ("I would love to do it, I would really bring it to the table," Michaels told Joy Behar). Sources say, however, that Michaels is out of the running.

Even Donald Trump has quietly lobbied to replace Cowell despite his longtime association with NBC as producer and judge of "The Apprentice" franchise.

While Fox insists no decision is imminent, the clock is ticking to replace Cowell as preliminary auditions get under way for the talent show's 10th season. Peter Rice, the network's new entertainment chairman, has said he expects the new "Idol" judge to join the audition roadshow by early September.

Complicating matters: Cowell's upcoming Fox singing competition "The X Factor" is similarly seeking judges.

Armed with a list of prospects, Fox is trying to figure out how all the pieces will fit together for both "Idol" and "X Factor" -- a delicate process given the long-standing tension between Cowell and "Idol" executive producer Simon Fuller.

<p>Musician Chris Isaak performs during the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, March 15, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>