News

'American Idol' team still in flux, Fox says

Joe Flint and Gerrick Kennedy
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Senior Fox executives were hoping to unveil a new panel of judges for "American Idol" on Monday at the semiannual television critics press tour.

Instead, they spent a lot of time talking about what they couldn't talk about. While people close to the show confirm that musicians Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler have all but signed deals to join "American Idol" next January, Fox brass remained silent. The network also declined to comment on whether former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe was returning to "American Idol" as well.

"The only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is no one has signed a deal," said Peter Rice, the entertainment chairman of the Fox Networks Group. He added, in the understatement of the year, that it is "not a fun announcement." Rice said the network expects to have its new panel in place by September, when auditions for "American Idol" hit full steam.

Already gone from "American Idol," the nation's most-watched television show, are Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres left the program after just one season. Kara DioGuardi is also expected to exit, while Randy Jackson, who has been with the show since day one, is likely to return.

Rice said he thought DeGeneres was "great on the show" and would have liked her to have stayed. As for whether all the media attention around the show helps or hinders the efforts to revitalize it, he said, "doing this in a public fishbowl is very hard."

Whether either Lopez or Tyler will try to take on Cowell's role as a kingmaker on "American Idol" remains to be seen.

"We have to respect how much people love this format, and yet we have to make sure that in its 10th season that it's engaging and fun and people enjoy it," Rice said.

While Rice wouldn't talk about any changes to the show, he did promise that there would still be people singing and being judged.

Later in the day, "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy talked about the direction of his Emmy-nominated hit show, including:

1. The show's lifespan: "We obviously have to deal with the cast and the show that we hope goes on for years. We've sort of mapped out the first four years with this original cast," he said. "The thing about the show is you have set competitions that are true. There are sectionals and nationals, (but we also) want to go to Copenhagen or Moscow for international competitions."

2. Weekly themes are here to stay: All of the episodes will have a central theme, much like they did in the first season. Murphy confirmed the first episode in the upcoming season will be called "Auditions," based on the notion that everyday life — particularly high school — is an audition. The third episode will be about faith, with the kids talking about what God means to them.

3. "Britney, Britney, Britney": Murphy said the tribute episode to the pop star will be an unconventional one, compared with the Madonna and Gaga fests. It won't be the sole tribute episode next season. Murphy is in negotiations with a "big" pop artist to be featured in the highly coveted post-Super Bowl slot.

4. Sir Paul goes "Gleek": Murphy got a bit of a surprise recently when a mix tape from Paul McCartney made it his way. "It just sort of came out of the blue. It said, 'Hi Ryan I'd hope you'd considered these songs for Glee," he said of the two-disc mix tape. "I've heard he's a fan of the show. I was gobsmacked, I love this guy. Of course we're going to do something."

5. About that merchandise — there is lots of it, lots: With greeting cards, video games and a clothing line on the horizon is there anything the gang would say no to? Apparently so. "I'm very proud of the merchandise that we have. For every two things I accept, I turn down 10," Murphy said. "We're going to have Jane Lynch's character write her own autobiography (and of course cross promote it). That's an example of a book we'd do together."

6. No need to save up for soundtracks: After releasing a whopping five soundtracks (three albums and two EPs), Murphy promises they will scale it down.

"This year we will do less. We're doing a Christmas episode with Susan Boyle, but I don't think it will be a separate CD," he said.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image