Are they in or are they out? Short answer: maybe still in.
For weeks, reports have been swirling that American Idol is scrapping all four judges and coming back with a new group for next season after a low-rated 12th season of the Fox reality series. Today on a conference call to talk about the network's fall lineup, Fox chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly insisted that no decision has been made and that Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban are "welcome back, absolutely" for next season.
"Everything at this point is on the table, and we'll talk about that starting Friday," he said when asked about bringing back the trio. So keep your eyes peeled for announcements about the judges as early as next week.
Reilly did confirm that Randy Jackson would not be returning (which we already exclusively reported last week), but that there was "not an ounce of ill will either way" regarding his departure.
Reilly also said that it was "likely" that next season of Idol would go back to the three-judging panel format, and apparently, that's not the only change ahead for the series.
"Our next season begins Friday morning after our finale, and that's when we're really gonna go to work in earnest," he said. "Because the format, more than anything, will have a few fresh twists next year, which we've already identified that I think will be a nice little jolt for next season."
Reilly was more than happy, however, to confirm reports that 24 and Keifer Sutherland will return to Fox for 12 episodes, which is "lightly" set to premiere next May and will be "compressed over 12 weeks." The official title of what Fox is calling a "new event series" is 24: Live Another Day, and it will take place several years after the series finale.
But the obvious question is: How will they manage the 24-hour format?
"It will go chronologically over the day, but it will skip hours. It will be dictated by the plot," he said. "The spine of the original 24 episodes was about 12 hours. Those were when the big events occurred, and then there were little events and connective tissue in between." It's like old-school 24, minus the excess fat!
Finally, Reilly talks a bit about Glee once again premiering early in the fall, and then taking a break to make way for baseball.
When it comes back in the spring, Reilly says, there will be a "creative twist" involving the return.