Fox has signed a deal with Harry Connick Jr. to appear on the upcoming season of American Idol, as announced by The Hollywood Reporter.
Connick Jr. will join Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on the judging panel in the thirteenth season of the singing contest. Last season’s judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are not returning, as they “did not play well with the show’s key older female demographic,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Originally Dr. Luke was considered for the spot, but his label (Sony Music) is a direct competitor with American Idol’s exclusive label Universal Music Group. After the musician dropped out Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager was rumored to be a possible replacement but declined the offer.
Following Braun’s pass on the position, talk began about Connick Jr. joining the cast. The Hollywood Reporter noted if Idol did not cast someone soon, production could possibly be delayed.
Although Fox has not released an official statement, Simon Fuller, producer of Idol held a “small party” at Bouchon in Los Angeles with Connick, Urban, Lopez and previous judge Randy Jackson as guests. The get together was reportedly to “toast the forthcoming announcement,” announced The Hollywood Reporter.
American Idol will return to Fox in January 2014 for its thirteenth season.