Rickey Minor leaving American Idol to join Jay Leno

American Idol musical director Rickey Minor is leaving one mediocre show for even more mediocre show: he’ll become the band leader on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, replacing Kevin Eubanks, who announced he was leaving yesterday.

NBC announced that he’ll start work June 7, a few weeks after American Idol 9 ends, and said that “Minor will continue to consult and work with ‘American Idol’ creator Simon Fuller on various projects.” The Tonight Show’s executive producer, Debbie Vickers, said in a statement, “We couldn’t be more excited. The ‘Tonight Show’ has a long tradition of acclaimed musicians in this role, and it’s great to now include Rickey alongside Kevin and Branford.”

Minor’s role–or at least, visibility–on Idol has become, yes, minor over the past few seasons, especially since the redesigned stage moved the band up into the rafters where they might as well be on tape for all we can tell.

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.