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Steven Tyler to exit ‘American Idol’

Fox, Fremantle to revamp popular show after ratings dip

Steven Tyler is ankling his role as judge on “American Idol.” Exit is one of many to occur within the last two years in the singing competition space.

Tyler served as judge during “Idol’s” 10th and 11th season runs. Singer has decided to focus his energy on music efforts, including the release of Aerosmith’s new album, “Music from Another Dimension,” this November.

“I strayed from my first love, ‘Aerosmith,’ ” Tyler remarked.

“Steven has been a terrific judge,” said Mike Darnell, topper of alternative entertainment at Fox. “We are very sad that he has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock ‘n’ roll legend, he would go back to the music.” Fox is not commenting on possible replacements for Tyler.

Announcement comes the same day that fellow “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez remarked on “Today” during a satellite interview “Maybe it’s time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do.” Randy Jackson is also rumored to be on the out from the judges’ table, with Adam Lambert revealing that he’s been approached as a replacement.

The judge shakeup occurs after a season that saw “American Idol” drop off sharply in the ratings. “Idol” once had the singing competish arena to itself, but it’s become increasingly crowded in recent years. This past broadcast season alone saw “Idol” joined by “The Sing Off” and newcomers “The X Factor” and “The Voice.” This glut likely contributed to some viewer fatigue in the genre, and with the emergence of even more singing competitions like this summer’s “Duets,” nets are feeling the pressure to differentiate their shows from the programming pack.

“Idol” refreshed itself by introducing Tyler along with Lopez for its 2011 season and averaged 26.2 million viewers for its Wednesday performance episodes — up 5% from 2010, leading to the show’s first year-over-year ratings growth since its peak season in 2006. However, ratings sunk as the competish entered 2012 with Lopez and Tyler still on board.

Nevertheless, “Idol” remained TV’s top-rated entertainment series this season (averaging about 20 million viewers) and second overall behind NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

“Idol’s” sibling Fox singing show “The X-Factor” has undergone a similar judge revamp as season one ratings fell below the net’s expectations. Simon Cowell publicly acknowledged that the show didn’t perform as predicted and madeover the judges’ panel, axing Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger in favor of season two’s fresh judges, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. Cowell anticipates the judge shakeup will boost the show’s ratings, with many viewers anticipating Spears’s debut. “The X-Factor’s” second season bows this fall.

“American Idol” is produced by 19 Entertainment, a division of CKX, and FremantleMedia North America.

Rick Kissell contributed to this report.

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