Shake Up

Ellen DeGeneres Leaves American Idol

Next season of American Idol, already without Simon Cowell, is going to be even more different: Ellen DeGeneres is officially leaving the show, Fox wrote in a statement Thursday. DeGeneres’ departure comes a year before her contract is set to expire—the decision is thought to be mutual, according to Variety, which broke the story, as she was criticized frequently during the season. “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,” DeGeneres said. “It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.” She continued: “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.” DeGeneres’ departure raises questions about the future of the judges’ panel as a whole—as Cowell’s replacement is rumored to named imminently. Fox also recently announced that Nigel Lythgoe, Idol's former showrunner would return to the show next season—which, according to some reports, might mean an overhaul of the entire judges’ panel. Randy Jackson still has another year left in his contract, and rumors are circulating that Kara DioGuardi also might not return. “We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of IDOL,” Peter Rice, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Networks Group, said in a statement released Thursday. “We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.”