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Randy Jackson leaving 'American Idol'

Longtime "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson.

Longtime "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson. Credit: Fox

Randy Jackson, the last surviving link to the glory days of "American Idol," has announced his departure from the show at the end of this season.

In a resignation hand-delivered to E! Thursday, Jackson said: "Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on 'American Idol' I have decided it is time to leave after this season. I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It's been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures."

"Idol" and FremantleMedia had all but fired Jackson at the end of last season, but they were forced to rehire him when talks with judge Jennifer Lopez abruptly collapsed. Jackson also had close ties with Mariah Carey, whom he managed and worked closely with for many years, going back to his days as a session musician and later as an executive with her label, Columbia Records.

Whether Jackson was annoyed by his apparent near-dismissal last summer is unclear, but there has been no evidence of any discord on the air. In fact, most of the noise -- on-screen and off -- has been generated by Nicki Minaj in her presumed feud with Carey. Both women are also expected to leave after the season ends next week, according to recent reports. The reported Thursday that all four judges (Keith Urban is the fourth) would be replaced.

Fox and FremantleMedia North America declined to comment on Jackson's resignation, and Jackson's management representative did not respond to an email.

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