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TCA: No "American Idol" news. Period.

 

 No news about "American Idol."

  About the next judges.

  About any judges.

  About...anything.

  And so ends a Fox executive session starring Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly that studiously avoided any  coloration of current negotiations or where any of this will end up.

  The letter "J" and kinda-word "Lo" were not even uttered.

   The sound system was not booming out "Sweet Emotion."

   Here's what Rice - head of Fox Broadcasting said - before he declined to say anymore...

   "I'd like to star with Ellen's departure. In early June I met with her and talked about the season and her feelings about the season, and [she said] that she wasn't all that comfortable; that she didn't feel it was a good fit. I tried to pursuade her that it would be different but ultimately we came to an agreement that we'd look for new judges. As  they played out over the course of the summer - played out that we can't replace [her] or we can move on without you - and that's where we got to last week, precipitated by this morning [the TCA executive panel] . We felt confident we could come up with a panel that didn't include Ellen as a judge - but thought it was disengenuous to sit here and talk about Ellen being one of the 'Idol' judges next year when we knew that wouldn't be the case."

  "This [her resignation] created another round of speculation on who would replace them next year;" some of this, he said, was dead-on accurate and some was not, and Rice refused to distinguish betwee the two. 

 "The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that no one has signed a deal on either side of the camera who wasn't on last year. It's not a fun announcement and certainly not the choice I'd make but there are no signed deals."

  So, what does this mean? Pretty much what it says, I would imagine. There are no deals, though that line "who wasn't on last year" would seem to suggest that Randy and Kara are safe, but it's far to vague to even impute that meaning.  Moreover, the "either side of the camera" is a pointed reference to Nigel Lythgoe - expected to join as EP and who reportedly precipated the entire judge panel turnover. 

  Meanwhile, none of this is even remotely a big deal. "Idol" will get its judges. They will be on the show come September, when they need to be around for the audition rounds. And life will go on.  And they will probably - if not certainly - be Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.

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