Ellen DeGeneres quits American Idol

Ellen DeGeneres has quit as an American Idol judge after one season, and Fox will apparently announce Simon Cowell’s replacement–and perhaps an entirely new panel of judges–on Monday.

In a statement posted on her web site, Ellen wrote that she actually quit a while ago,

“A couple months ago, I let FOX and the “American Idol” producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on “Idol” and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”

Fox released a statement with quotes from executives saying how awesome she is. Fox entertainment chair Peter Rice said, “We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of Idol. We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.” And Fox reality president said, “It was a joy to work with Ellen. She brought an incredible spirit to IDOL and was a great new addition to the team. While we’re saddened by her decision, we are very appreciative that she gave us ample notice so that we could work through it together.”

That means two of the four judges are now gone, and Kara DioGuardi has a one-year contract that has yet to be renewed. It’s likely we’ll learn that there will be three or four new judges to judge American Idol 10‘s teenage singers.

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.