NEW YORK (Reuters) - Grammy-winning R&B singer Cee Lo Green, a judge on NBC’s “The Voice” singing competition, said he has decided to leave the popular show after four seasons but will continue to work with the television network.
Green made the surprise announcement on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” daytime TV talk show on Wednesday.
“I’m not coming back at all,” Green told a surprised DeGeneres while singer Lionel Richie sat beside her.
“I just don’t want to wear out my welcome there. You know what I’m saying? I have so many other things that I want to do,” he added.
Green, 39, said he has a television show in development with NBC and hinted there may be some other talk show opportunities. He also plans to tour with Richie later this year and will be working on an album.
“I haven’t released an album in four years. I’m almost done with my album,” said Green. “I didn’t mean to drop the bomb today.”
Comcast Corp-owned NBC confirmed that Green was leaving the singing contest, and he and the network were working on upcoming programming.
Green, best known for his 2010 hit song “Forget You,” has been a fixture on “The Voice” as a judge along with singer Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and country star Blake Shelton since it premiered in 2011.
Colombian pop star Shakira and R&B singer Usher have replaced Aguilera and Green in the spring season of the show.
News that he would not be returning to the show came after Green, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, pleaded not guilty last October to a felony charge of giving the drug ecstasy to woman in a Los Angeles restaurant without her knowledge while they were dining together.
If convicted Green could face four years in prison.
The sixth season of “The Voice” returns on February 24. The two-hour season finale of the show last June, which featured Cher in her first live TV performance in more than a decade, attracted 15.3 million viewers.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey, Bernard Orr