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.

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.