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FIRST ON VARIETY: Ellen DeGeneres bowing out of ‘American Idol’

Ellenidol Ellen DeGeneres won’t be returning to “American Idol” next
season.

DeGeneres’ exit comes on the eve of a rumored massive “Idol” overhaul, as Fox and producers FremantleMedia and 19 Ent. are busy rebooting the popular brand.

DeGeneres said she told Fox and the “Idol” producers months
ago that she wasn’t comfortable with returning for a second go-round on the
show.

I told them I wouldn’t leave them
in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to
figure out where they wanted to take the panel next,” DeGeneres said. “ It
was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained
for.”

The departure comes as DeGeneres opts to devote her attention to her popular daytime “Ellen DeGeneres Show” — which is now on track to fill the syndicated talk show void left by the departure next year of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

What’s more, DeGeneres’ exit and the well-publicized
departure of Simon Cowell now sets the stage for an “Idol” makeover.

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