Break out the boxing gloves.
The bickering trio of American Idol, judges has agreed to reunite for the second edition of the summer?s smash pop talent search on Fox.
The network has confirmed that wishy-washy Paula Abdul and oversized record producer Randy Jackson will once again join razor-tongued Simon Cowell for American Idol 2.
The network also told Daily Variety that the next edition of the show will welcome a fourth judge "who will add a different and unique perspective to the group." Fox has not yet announced who that judge will be, however.
For now, the only missing member of the original cast of characters will be Brian Dunkleman, who announced earlier this fall that he would not do double Idol duty. Ryan Seacrest has already agreed to return to the show, and insiders say he will pair off with a female counterpart this time around.
In other news, the momentum from the first edition of American Idol continues to build.
Semifinalist Tamyra Gray has just signed a record deal and will join runner-up Justin Guarini and winner Kelly Clarkson on the RCA label.
The 23-year-old songbird was booted from the show in the final rounds much to the chagrin of many viewers and host Cowell. The salty Brit thought she was a winner, and message boards were jammed with bitter posts from her fans after her defeat. Some reportedly even suggesting her race played a factor in her lack of votes (she's African-American). Gray also will guest-star on Boston Public later this season.
Meanwhile, on the heels of the record-label news also comes word that Idol?s American success has spawned plans for a Canadian version of the show, as well. The USA Network is prepping a country music version of Idol called Nashville Star. The cable net will launch a nationwide search beginning Tuesday open to crooners of all ages, who will be able to audition at some 30 radio stations across the country. The winner, to be crowned in March, will snag a recording contract from Sony Music Nashville.
And not to be outdone, CBS has announced it's resurrecting Star Search for a nine-episode midseason run. The old-school TV talent show--whose alumni include Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ray Romano, Sinbad and Martin Lawrence--will begin its month-long nationwide search for "adult and junior singers, comics and supermodels" on October 26, with CBS wranglers will visit Miami, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles for wannabe stars. The format gets an Idol-style makeover, with an as-yet undetermined panel of "celebrity judges" and an interactive poll of viewers will determine winners.
As for American Idol 2, auditions will kick off in Detroit on Monday. The search will continue to New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Miami and Austin, Texas, before winding up in Los Angeles on November 17.
Fox has not yet announced a premiere date for the would-be hit, but says the sequel will likely bow sometime in January or February.