American Idol Could Be Looking For New Judges On A Tighter Budget

By Leslie Kasperowicz 2012-07-15 11:29:58 discussion comments
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With both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez heading out the door, Idol has some vacancies to fill, and they could be looking to do it on a tighter budget. Ratings are down and word is the show’s producers are looking to tighten the belt of what has become one bloated reality series, paying the big name talent in the realm of $15 to 20 million for gracing the stage as judges. So what might that mean for the future of Idol?

Well, according to THR, the series could be downsizing and cutting some salaries. It wouldn’t impact Ryan Seacrest, who is already locked in for another two years, but it could have an effect on whoever winds up sitting at the judges table. And, as with all budget cuts, it’s likely to hurt the people behind the scenes more. Budget and staff cuts are among the rumored changes for the show’s upcoming season.

Within hours of each other both Steven Tyler and J. Lo announced their exits. That leaves at least two judges chairs empty, and Randy Jackson hasn’t yet signed on for another season. If Jackson does come back, which seems likely, he may well bring with him a replacement for Lopez in the form of Mariah Carey, who just happens to be managed by Jackson. That would mean he’d pick up a percentage of her pay, making a return to Idol a pretty lucrative deal for Jackson.

Carey is at least as big a name in the pop music world as Lopez, which means she won’t come cheap. And that still leaves one more chair empty and a big dollar sign hanging above it. Getting big stars to sign on for judging gigs will be tougher on a tighter budget. It could mean signing somewhat less impressive talent for the roles. Then again, stars with a little less ego might bring something fresh to the show; with the ratings down in this past season the shake-up could be a good thing.
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