Jackson confirmed to E! News: “After 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol’ I have decided it is time to leave after this season. I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”
When contacted by Variety, Fox did not have comment.
Until now, Jackson was the last remaining judge on “Idol” since its inception in 2002. Fellow judge alums Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell ankled the skein in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Since then, “Idol” has seen a revolving door of judges, including the entrance and departure of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
In its current 12th run on Fox, “Idol” has seen record-low ratings paired with escalating drama between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Rumors have swirled that the “Idol” producers hatched a plan to uproot Carey from her judging post and replace her with more popular judge Jennifer Lopez, after Carey’s time on the program did not produce buzzy enough results. Minaj and Carey have also butted heads on numerous occasions, both on air and off.
Fellow judge Keith Urban has not made moves towards the exit yet, but the fate of all current judges on the show remains unclear as “Idol” producers will most likely retool the show again for its thirteenth run.