LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “American Idol” will unveil its new judging panel next Wednesday, ending months of speculation following the departure of old hands Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi, Fox said on Thursday.
The network said it would announce the lineup at the Los Angeles Forum, an arena where auditions will be held ahead of the show’s Season 10 premiere in January.
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler are reported to have signed up for the panel in a major overhaul aimed at reversing a four-year slide in viewership.
Lopez, 41, star of movies “The Backup Plan” and “The Wedding Planner,” was widely reported earlier this week to have signed a $12 million contract with “Idol”.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tyler, 62, would add some serious cachet to the singing contest, which launched the Grammy-winning careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
Record producer Randy Jackson is expected to keep the seat he has held since the show debuted in 2001.
“American Idol” has generated huge advertising revenues for Fox and boosted record sales and digital downloads. While it remaining the most-watched TV show in the United States last season, about six million viewers have deserted the program since 2006.
Abrasive British judge Cowell — one of the biggest celebrities on American TV — quit in May to launch his own TV talent show on Fox in the fall of 2011. Talk show host DeGeneres left in July after just one year on the panel, and songwriter DioGuardi quit two weeks ago after two years.
In the past two months, “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller has dumped Sony Music for Universal Music, the world’s biggest music label, as the home for future “Idol” stars.
British TV producer Nigel Lythgoe returned to the show he helped to create with Fuller, and top Universal Music executive Jimmy Iovine will be a creative consultant.
“American Idol” is produced by 19 Entertainment, a unit of CKX Inc and FremantleMedia, a unit of Bertelsmann AG-controlled broadcaster RTL Group. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Editing by Dean Goodman