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Secret plan to dump Mariah Carey from American Idol called “ridiculous” by Fox

American Idol is experiencing its lowest-ratings since season one, despite a pre-season feud, and Fox and the show’s producers came up with an innovative plan, according to a report: Fire Mariah Carey and replace her with Jennifer Lopez, who judged last year and then quit, but that didn’t happen because Mariah threatened to sue.

The Hollywood Reporter’s story on the mid-season replacement plot was denied by a Fox spokesperson, who called it “just another ridiculous Idol judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale.”

Curiously, though, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told the paper, “I have not been included in any conversation regarding replacing Mariah with Jen this season.” That’s really strange language that suggests there was a conversation that he wasn’t part of, which is weird since he produces the show. If there was no plan, why not just say so?

That Nigel wasn’t involved does jibe with another detail the paper cited: “Fox reality chief Mike Darnell and Fremantle’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz have been especially concerned about the Idol ratings trajectory, and they hoped that a surprise shake-up on the judges’ panel would help.” In other words, it was a higher-level conversation.

On a semi-related note, there’s this detail attributed to an anonymous source about the show’s ratings problems: “The core viewer is a midwestern, Southern, older woman who is threatened by Nicki’s aggressiveness.” That seems like pretty transparent, coded language, and if American Idol is really desperate enough to start pandering to racist old people, it’s in a lot of trouble.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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