New 'American Idol' Judges: Search Comes to an End

(Article updated with news that Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez will be the American Idol season 10 judges.)

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 seasons, a ratings juggernaut for Fox.

The show has finally unveiled its lineup of celebrity judges for its 10th season today, ending months of speculation. Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have officially been named the American Idol season 10 judges. Ryan Seacrest made the announcement on Wednesday, live from auditions at The Forum in Los Angeles.

Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi will not be returning for the 10th season, which triggered a search for a new panel of judges. Now whether the new personalities will help keep Idol a ratings juggernaut for Fox and its parent company News Corp. ( NWSA) still remains in question.

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 upcoming season 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).

CKX saw revenue from American Idol show drop 17.5% to $79.2 million in 2009 from $96 million in 2008. Season 9 viewership was down 16% from the previous season and its finale delivered its weakest numbers ever for a season-ending show.

Yet the multifaceted operation that is Idol is still a powerhouse. It sees revenues not only from the show itself, but through its seasonal nationwide traveling tour, and the artists who produce lucrative records in its name. Winners and finalists of American Idol and Pop Idol, the British version of the show, have sold more than 47 million albums, and the 2009 American Idol concert tour played 52 dates across the U.S. and Canada.

CKX subsidiary 19 Entertainment has the exclusive right to select the record company that signs the winning contestants. Fox and 19 Entertainment recently announced a recording deal with Universal Music Group to begin this season after its deal with Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation ( SNE), ended after last season.

Much, clearly, is at stake -- from the standpoint of ratings, one could easily make the case that the judges are just as important, if not more so, than the fame-seeking singers.

Here, then, is a photo-by-photo look at the new judges, who won't be returning to the show and the names of celebrities who were said to be in the running for the next season of American Idol.

Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez

The show finally ended months of speculation when Ryan Seacrest unveiled the lineup of celebrity judges for its 10th season today. Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have officially been named the American Idol season 10 judges.

Seacrest made the announcement on Wednesday during a live Webcast event that took place the audition site in Los Angeles.

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell were the judges from the show's 2002 debut until 2009. Abdul decided to leave the show last year. This year, Cowell announced that he has decided not to return for another season.

As Idol searched for a replacement, producer Nigel Lythgoe told E! Online that he wasn't necessarily looking for someone just like Cowell.

"Simon is a caustic Brit, so don't look for a caustic Brit," he said. "Look for somebody else. It's not about typecasting."

It has finally been confirmed that Randy Jackson, the only remaining original judge, will return as a judge for the tenth season of the show.

Fox was paying Abdul somewhere between $5 million to $8 million per season, while Cowell was said to be making more than $36 million a year, which helped boost his net worth to around $175 million.

Odds We Had Given Them on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: Abdul and Cowell: None; Jackson: 10-to-1

Ellen DeGeneres

Abdul's empty seat was filled by comedian Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres announced she wouldn't be returning for a second season in July.

"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," said DeGeneres. "While I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on Idol and I am very grateful for the year I had."

DeGeneres has had a successful career in the spotlight and has hosted her own daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003. During the 1990s she starred in her own television show on ABC called Ellen, and in 2003 she played the voice of Dory in Disney ( DIS) Pixar's Finding Nemo. Her estimated net worth is more than $65 million.

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 1,000,000-to-1

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi will not be returning as a judge for American Idol.

The executive vice president of talent development at the major label unit of Warner Music Group ( WMG), Warner Brothers Records, joined the judges panel last season and recently announced that she will not be returning for the tenth season.

"I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave," said DioGuardi in a statement published on the show's website. "I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol -- it has truly been an amazing experience."

Reports speculated that DioGuardi tried to quit the show a few months ago, while others claimed Idol wanted to give her the boot before she could quit. But the release issued on the show's website made it seem that there are no hard feelings between DioGuardi and the executives.

"Kara was a great addition to our Idol family. I've been fortunate to get to know her well," said Mike Darnell, the president of alternative entertainment at Fox. "She will be missed, and we wish her continued success."

"She has been passionate and committed to Idol over the last two seasons," Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said. "I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come."

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 1,000,000-to-1

Steven Tyler

It has been confirmed that Steven Tyler will be a judge on this season of the show. For months reports speculated that Tyler had finalized a contract, but during that time the only thing that could be confirmed was that Fox had indeed approached Tyler about being a judge and even went as far as to make him an offer.

"It's just a work in progress," he said on the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning radio show on August 2. The Aerosmith front man has said he would be an honest yet sensitive judge of talent.

Columbia Records signed Aerosmith in 1972. The band has released 14 studio albums, 9 of which have gone platinum. Aerosmith has had 8 singles reach the top ten on the US Billboard 100, and their single I Don't Want to Miss a Thing reached the No. 1 position in 1998.

Tyler's net worth is said to be around $130 million.

Odds We Had Given Him on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 2-to-1

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez will be a judge next season. Rumor has it Lopez closed a $12 million deal with Fox to be a judge earlier this month. For weeks reports speculated that the deal had fallen through because her demands became too much for Fox to deal with. Lopez allegedly wanted a motion picture, a television pilot and a $15 million paycheck from Fox in order to join Idol, but sources said she settled for $12 million.

Lopez, 41 has gained her fame through her singing career, as well as her acting and dancing. In 2001, she starred in The Wedding Planner and released her hit album J. Lo. That year she became the first artist to have her film and album hit No. 1 in same week.

Through her past works, clothing line and her highly successful perfume line, she could is said to be worth up to $100 million.

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 20-to-1

Jessica Simpson

According to Entertainment Weekly, a source close to Jessica Simpson claimed that she was among the many celebrities with whom executives spoke to about possibly joining the show.

Simpson has sold more than 20 million records worldwide, and has released several hit singles, including "I Wanna Love You Forever," which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999, and "Irresistible" which got to No. 15 in 2001. The singer-turned-actress appeared in her first motion picture as Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard in 2005 and is currently the host of the VH1 series, The Price of Beauty, which began airing its first season on March 15, 2010 and is believed to have been renewed for a second season. Her net worth is said to be somewhere around $20 million.

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 10-to-1

Elton John

The rumor that music legend Elton John will be a judge on Idol next season had been floating around since January. John was a guest judge on the show in season 3. Several reports claimed that he turned down a $33 million offer from Fox.

During his career, Sir Elton has sold more than 250 million records, and in 1994 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His hit single "Candle in the Wind" is the best selling single of all time, selling more than 37 million copies.

John's net worth recently fell 26% to $255.5 million from $343.1 million after he made several generous donations to charities in 2009, according to People.com.

Odds We Had Given Him on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 3-to-1

Shania Twain

Country singer Shania Twain was on American Idol last season as a guest judge in the Chicago auditions and returned later to be a mentor to the finalists on the show's "Country Night." An insider told People.com that producers had been in talks with Twain since April. Reports speculated that Twain was a backup plan in case the deal with Jennifer Lopez fell through.

In 1997, Twain released the record, Come on Over, which has sold 11 million copies. She is known for such songs as "You're Still the One," which reached No. 1 on the country singles chart, and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," a Top 5 country hit. Her net worth is believed to be upwards of $100 million.

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 5-to-1

Harry Connick Jr.

Rumors that Harry Connick Jr. was in the running to replace Simon Cowell on the judging panel had been swirling since his May 4 guest appearance.

The New Orleans native saw his career take off after he contributed to the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack in 1989, which led to his first multi-platinum album. Connick got involved in the acting scene and continued to produce musical hits, such as his 1998 single "Come by Me " which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart.

Connick stole the show when he appeared on American Idol as a mentor during Frank Sinatra week last season. Reports following the episode claimed that Fox had been using the hour to gauge its viewers' response to the charismatic and charming Connick and to see if he would be a good fit for Idol.

His guest appearance made such an impression on judge Kara DioGuardi that during an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show a few days later she said that Connick would be a great replacement for Cowell on the judging panel.

In a poll asking readers of TheStreet who among the list of celebrities would most likely be a new addition to the American Idol judging panel, Harry Connick Jr. racked up close to 40% of the votes.

>>'American Idol' Judges: Fans Vote for Connick Jr., Tyler

Odds We Had Given Him on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 5-to-1

Mariah Carey

Reports claimed that musical diva Mariah Carey was being considered for a judging position. Husband Nick Cannon reportedly said that he thought becoming an American Idol judge would be a "good career move" on her part. Reports also said that she has expressed interest in being a judge.

However, rumors have also circulated that Carey is pregnant. If this is true it would likely impact her decision to to sign a season-long contract.

The singer, songwriter, record producer and actress is known for her five-octave singing range. In 2008 she beat out Elvis Pressley with her eighteenth No. 1 single off her sixth No. 1 album.

Odds We Had Given Her on Being Named an American Idol Judge for Next Season: 20-to-1

In a press release on Thursday, Sept. 16 , American Idol said that the season 10 judging panel had finally been confirmed. The show's host, Ryan Seacrest, made the official announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 22 from auditions at The Forum in Los Angeles.

Seacrest has been the host of the show since its start. In addition to hosting American Idol, Seacrest hosts Entertainment Television's E! News. He is also on the radio with On Air with Ryan Seacrest, a popular top 40 radio show that reaches the U.S. and Canada as well as the international reaching American Top 40.

During the course of the summer, more than a dozen names were added to the list of potentials and producers seemed hesitant in striking a deal with anyone.

Who among the list of celebrities did you think was going to be a new addition to the American Idol judging panel?.

Which entertainer is most likely to join American Idol's panel of judges in the new season?

-- Steven Tyler
-- Jennifer Lopez
-- Jessica Simpson
-- Elton John
-- Shania Twain
-- Harry Connick Jr.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Theresa McCabe.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to twitter.com/TheresaMcCabe.

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