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Fox suits: No "Idol" deals. Seriously. We mean it. For realsers.


Beverly Hills -- Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler may tell you he's joining "American Idol" as a judge, but Fox suits Monday told grief stricken TV critics no such deal is in place for any judges to join the network's singing competition series next season.

"No one has signed a deal on either side of the camera to be on 'Idol' who wasn't on it last year," Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Rice convolutedly told critics attending Fox's day at Summer TV Press Tour 2010.

Fox seemed unprepared for what Rice called last week's "tremendous speculation" in the press about new judges for the show - particularly the reports about Tyler and Jennifer Lopez joining the judges' table. Those reports broke out like a bad rash immediately after the network announced the departure of last year's Great Idea for replacing Paula Abdul as judge Ellen DeGeneres, after just one season on the show.

"I can tell you that much of the information is accurate, and some of it is wildly inaccurate," Rice said. But he declined to say which is which, explaining, "I am not going to get into speculation...however much fun that might be for you - or your readers," like he meant it to sting.

Rice, and Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly who was up on stage with him warming a chair for a good chunk of their Q&A session, also refused to comment on reports the contract of judge Kara DioGuardi had not been renewed and the show would return to a three-judge format. Nor would the men comment on reports Randy Jackson, the only remaining member of the original judge panel, is coming back to the show when it returns to Fox's lineup in January of 2011 (Simon Cowell left the show in May).

Likewise it was ixnay on the ommentcay when asked about reports former show exec producer Nigel Lythgoe is returning triumphant to the show after having been pushed aside a couple seasons back when that was their Really Bright Idea for jump-starting the show and revving up its ratings.

"I'm doing it," Tyler told celebrity suck-up mag reporters Saturday about the "Idol" judging gig, as he was heading from his Las Vegas concert to an after party at Studio 54.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  August 2, 2010; 3:56 PM ET
Categories:  "American Idol" , Summer TV Press Tour 2010  
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