×

‘American Idol’: As Clock Runs Down, Search Narrows for Third Judge

Once, twice, three time’s an offer? As an October deadline approaches for “American Idol,” Variety hears Lionel Richie is back in the running for the third seat on the ABC reboot. Richie’s return comes after several stalled negotiations over compensation for the TV gig. Katy Perry, the first to sign on, grabbed more than half the talent budget for her salary alone, while returning host Ryan Seacrest also saw a significant payday, reportedly making $15 million for his participation.

On Sunday, Variety reported that Luke Bryan had been confirmed for a second seat at the table — his salary as yet unknown. The third spot has seen a slew of rumored — and considered — contenders, including Charlie Puth, Keith Urban, and manager Scooter Braun. Even Dolly Parton’s name was thrown in the ring for a time. Most recently, rapper Common was approached about joining the panel, says an insider, but the new Emmy winner — who’s a Tony Award shy of an EGOT — turned down the offer. (Variety has reached out to reps for Common and Richie for comment.)

On Sept. 25, TMZ floated Spotify executive Troy Carter’s name. The former manager of Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor reportedly had taken a recent meeting with FremantleMedia, the production company behind “Idol.” But sources close to the production tell Variety that Richie is the one “Idol” wants, and that so long as they can agree on the price, the deal should close in a matter of days.

It has to, as “Idol” is scheduled to begin shooting next Tuesday. As Variety reported this week, ABC sources acknowledge privately that the beginning of on-camera auditions may need to be delayed if the show cannot nail down a third host in time. “Idol” is expected to premiere shortly after ABC’s March 4 telecast of the Academy Awards, the broadest promotional platform the network has to offer.

ABC’s move in May to snatch up a revival of the series — and secure Perry as a judge — reignited the music competition space. Fox has since giving a greenlight to “The Four,” a new series from Armoza Formats, while Netflix is developing “Rhythm & Flow,” a hip-hop competition show from producers John Legend and Jeff Gaspin. NBC, meanwhile, has signed on “Idol” alums Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson as coaches on its long-running singing competition, “The Voice.”

More Music

  • 'This Isn’t Spinal Tap': Dishing the

    'This Isn’t Spinal Tap': Dishing the Dirt on Motley Crue's Surprisingly Dark Biopic

    The new, eagerly awaited Motley Crue biopic, based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling 2001 book, “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” premieres today on Netflix after a seemingly endless 13 years in development hell. Those anticipating “a fun ‘80s music movie,” as Crue bassist Nikki Sixx puts it, will inevitably be stunned [...]

  • Victoria Monet

    Hitmaker of the Month: Ariana Grande Collaborator Victoria Monét on 'Thank U, Next'

    Victoria Monét is what you’d call an all-around creative. A singer, songwriter and dancer, the Sacramento native is also among Ariana Grande’s go-to collaborators. Most recently, Monet had a hand in constructing Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” which topped the charts in multiple territories upon its November 2018 release, including the United States, the U.K., Australia, [...]

  • Tame Impala FYF Fest

    Tame Impala Drop House-y New Single 'Patience' (Listen)

    Australia’s Tame Impala tend to switch things up with each album, but we’d have to say that an infusion of house music and Philadelphia soul were not what we were expecting. The group — which, in the studio, is essentially frontman Kevin Parker — has delivered what may be their most infectious single yet with “Patience,” [...]

  • Danny Bennett, Tony Bennett, Sir Lucian

    Verve President Danny Bennett Steps Down as UMG Restructures Jazz and Classical Divisions

    Verve Label Group president/CEO Danny Bennett has stepped down, Universal Music Group announced Thursday. Oversight of Verve will be taken over by Dickon Stainer, president/CEO of Universal Classics and Jazz, who will add the labels to a stable that already includes heading up Deutsche Grammophon and the Decca Label Group. The restructuring was cited by the [...]

  • Exclusive All RoundMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Lennon Stella's Post-'Nashville' Pop Video Shows 'Bitch'-iness Cuts Across Genders

    What happens when a Canadian country girl goes pop? America is finding out this year via Lennon Stella, the 19-year-old former co-star of TV’s “Nashville,” who signed to Barry Weiss’ Records imprint (which has a deal via Columbia Records) in the winter of 2018, and who this month released a stellar new song, “Bitch (Takes [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

  • Justin Carter Dead: Country Singer Dies

    Country Singer Justin Carter Dies After Accidental Shooting on Music Video Set

    Texas country music upstart Justin Carter has died from a gunshot wound, in an accident that took place while a gun was being as a prop for a music video being filmed in his apartment, according to reports out of Houston. Carter, 35, died Saturday, the same week he had signed a management deal and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content