The latest Idol rumor comes from Courtney Hazlett of MSNBC, whose gossip isn’t always reliable, so I would keep this item firmly in the RUMOR column. She reports that Jessica Simpson has been approached by Idol for a judges slot, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Simpson would not be taking Simon Cowell’s place, but be part of a “general overhaul” of the judges panel.
This news comes on the heels of a Hollywood Reporter report that Nigel Lythgoe is close to signing a deal that would bring him back to an ailing American Idol.
The Wrap spoke to Idol executive producer Ken Warwick who insists that he’ll remain as Executive Producer of Idol.
“A press release will be made as soon as Nigel signs with CKX, ” Ken told The Wrap, “He will return as CKX’s representative on the show. I will remain the exec producer of ‘American Idol.’ He will most certainly not be taking over the ‘reins’ of the production.”
The Wrap points out that “During Lythgoe’s first stint with “Idol, ” he worked for CKX subsidiary 19 Television. Warwick works for the other production company behind the show– Fremantlemedia. CKX hasn’t had a rep on the Idol set since Lythgoe’s departure.”
A new report from the New York Times backs up The Wrap’s report and adds, “Nigel’s return, which is expected to be finalized later this week–is tied to the long-simmering tensions between FremantleMedia, which handles the television production, and 19 Entertainment, which administrates the singing careers of the “Idol” stars.”
Nigel and Simon Fuller are part of 19 Entertainment, a unit of CKX.
The other executive producers, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick, work for Fremantle and will remain in their positions.
One person involved in the Idol production, compared Nigel’s return to a “family reunion, a “very dysfunctional” one, the person said lightheartedly.” Ha!
So, when Nigel left, the tension between those who wanted good TV, and those who wanted contestants who would produce hit songs post shows evaporated. Now, Nigel will be back to advocate for CKx. Very interesting….