Mariah Carey is joining "American Idol" as the show's newest judge.
Fox Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly announced Huntington-born Carey's hire Monday at the TV Critics Association's summer press tour in Beverly Hills. Deploying a bit of showmanship, Reilly produced his phone on stage to call Carey, saying the deal to hire her had been closed hours earlier.
"I am so excited to be joining 'Idol,' " Carey told Reilly and the audience. "I wish I could be there myself to tell you. It happened really quickly. I can't wait to get started . . . I will see you in January."
Reilly also took a moment to douse speculation that Jennifer Lopez might return.
"I think I can say with a hundred percent" certainty that she won't, he said.
Reilly declined to address Randy Jackson's status as a judge, though he said Jackson was "instrumental" in getting Carey aboard (he is her co-manager). Some celebrity sites have reported in recent weeks that Jackson was also exiting and that Lopez's departure was likely precipated by money. But Reilly said talks with the judges (Steven Tyler also resigned) had been ongoing for months and labeled them "transparent." The changes, he added, were part of an effort to "freshen" a declining franchise.
In other news, Reilly said each episode of the coming season of "Glee" will "seamlessly" integrate storylines set in New York and Ohio. Reilly said the idea had been floated and then vetoed that the show would split the season between the two locations. "Glee" also will have two new cast members: Dean Geyer, who was a finalist on "Australian Idol" in 2006, as a New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts student who shows interest in Rachel (Lea Michele), and Jacob Artist as Puck's (Mark Salling) younger half-brother.