'American Idol': No one has signed a deal yet

jennifer-lopez-american-idol-judge-2.jpg "American Idol" has no deals signed for their new judges' panel, FOX executives said at their summer press tour day Monday (Aug. 2).

"The only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty right now is that no one has signed a deal yet," FOX Chairman Peter Rice says. He added later that that includes Nigel Lythgoe returning as executive producer.

"I can tell you that much of the information that has been written is accurate and some of the information that has been written is wildly inaccurate," continues Rice. He also would not comment on the Kara DioGuardi speculation in particular.

A source close to the show previously told Zap2it there would be no announcement at press tour, but sources on the production side said if talks went well over the weekend, official word could indeed come on Monday. There have been multiple reports that Jennifer Lopez has signed a deal and Steven Tyler is close, but Rice wouldn't comment on any negotiations or any "speculation" about them.

After the session, FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told Zap2it that when an announcement does come, it will probably include the full slate of judges and producers for Season 10. "That's ultimately the goal," he says. "It's going to be a lot more constructive for everybody to kind of do it in one shot."

Rumors of the new judges' panel have been swirling since Ellen DeGeneres announced her departure from the show Thursday, July 29. Rice says of Ellen's leaving, "In early June, I met with Ellen and we talked about the season ... and really the idea that she wasn't comfortable, she didn't feel like it was a good fit for her. I tried to persuade her that it would be different in the future, but ultimately we came to an agreement that we would begin to look for new judges."

"We certainly plan to have a judges' panel [by mid-September]," Rice adds, which is when the auditions with the judges begin.

-- Addtional reporting by Rick Porter

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