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Who Will be the Next 'American Idol' Judge?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- American Idol has been one of the most successful television shows in history and, as the only program to claim the top Nielsen rating for six consecutive season, a ratings juggernaut for Fox.

But now, as the show heads into its 10th season, the format and personalities that have made it a hit are being called into question. Absent from the 10th season will be, for sure, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, triggering a search for the next panel of America Idol judges. As producers tinker with a format that is a proven winner, the question remains as to just how big an impact American Idol can have on Fox and its parent company News Corp. (NWSA).

Slideshow: The Once and Future American Idol Judges
'American Idol' Judges: The Latest on the Search

News Corp., the world's second-largest media conglomerate behind Disney (DIS), has had little to say about one of its programming jewels. However, chairman and ceo Rupert Murdoch did make some mention of the speculation surrounding the judges during the company's conference call to discuss year-end financial results. "I can assure you that next year's Idol will be different and will be better and that the music will be better," said Murdoch.

While News Corporation doesn't break out specific information on American Idol, a hint at just how large the Idol operation is can be gleaned by taking a look at financial results of the company that owns the proprietary rights to Idol around the world -- CKX (CKXE).

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