LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “American Idol” judge and mentor Randy Jackson is leaving the Fox TV singing competition after 13 seasons, the network said on Tuesday, after the show suffered a decline in ratings in recent years.
Music producer Jackson, 58, was one of the show’s original three judges along with Paula Abdul, who departed the show in 2009, and Simon Cowell, who left in 2010. Jackson left the judges’ panel after 12 seasons, but continued as a mentor in the 13th season this year.
“He’s provided great advice and support, shaping the success of so many Idols we have discovered over the years,” the network and show’s production companies FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment said in a statement.
“We hope he’ll visit from time to time,” the statement added.
“Idol,” once one of the top ratings hits on Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s Fox Broadcasting with more than 30 million viewers at its peak, has seen a drop in viewership despite its high-profile judges.
The show hit a series low of 10.6 million viewers tuning into the season finale earlier this year.
Current judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will all return for the show’s 14th season next year, as well as host Ryan Seacrest, who has been with the show since its premiere in 2002 and has become one of the highest-profile U.S. television hosts.
Fox recently slumped to last place in ratings among the major U.S. broadcasters, and the network’s top entertainment executive Kevin Reilly stepped down from his role. Fox said “Idol” will be scaled back next season from about 50 hours to 37 hours.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker