Kara DioGuardi “absolutely” staying next season, Simon Cowell says

Despite persistent rumors/hopes that Kara DioGuardi won’t return next season, Simon Cowell says that she will “absolutely” return to the show for its ninth season along with Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.

Kara is only signed for this season, as she’s reminded us in recent interviews, but Cowell said she’ll be re-signed. “I think certainly next year everyone’s going to be back,” he told Ellen Degeneres, according to TV Guide. “Yeah, absolutely.”

In the interview, which was pre-taped and airs today, he acknowledged that having four judges makes things more logistically complicated, but criticized producers’ idiotic response to their own failure to make the show work: “There’s less time for us to talk. One week … 10 minutes before the show started, [producers] said, ‘Oh, by the way you can’t talk for half the show.’ It’s rather like saying in a singing competition to the singer, ‘Half of you can’t sing.’ It was just crazy,” he said.

As to Kara, I can’t figure out where the vitriol comes from (a majority of TV Guide readers say they don’t like her, for example, although please, how many TV Guide readers are there now?). The criticism seems to focus on her occasional screw-ups or rambling–but when Paula does either, it’s entertaining. Kara can be repetitive–but look at Randy Jackson for the past seven seasons. It seems to be veiled sexism: it’s horrifying to some people that a female frequently offers coherent criticism, because clearly female judges are expected to do little more than drool and babble and offer to decapitate teenage contestants.

Simon: All Four Idol Judges “Absolutely” Returning Next Season [TV Guide]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.