Steven Tyler leaves ‘Idol.’ Will Jennifer Lopez be next?


“American Idol” judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Tyler is leaving the show. (Danny Moloshok/Associated Press)
July 12, 2012

The same day that Jennifer Lopez appeared on “Today” to keep all eyes focused on her — as she tries really, really hard to “decide” whether to return to Fox’s singing competition “American Idol” in January — her fellow “Idol” judge Steven Tyler totally upstaged her, announcing that he was out.

“After some long . . . hard . . . thoughts . . . I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit,” the Aerosmith frontman said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon by Fox after, presumably, being vetted by the “American Idol” Decency Police.

“I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back,” he said.

“But instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band,” he continued to prattle on happily as he executed his Lopez end run.

Lopez’s appearance on NBC’s “Today” came hours before Tyler’s announcement. On her latest stop on her It’s So Hard to Decide Whether to Return to “American Idol” Tour, she confided that she loved doing “Idol” but that the schedule is busy and there are so many other things she has not been able to do because of her “Idol” time constraints — movies, another album, etc.

“At the end of the day, whichever way, it’s a heartbreaking decision if I’m going to have to go,” Lopez emoted, Gloria Swanson-y.

“Like I said, I’ve just enjoyed it so much. But I am thinking that maybe it’s time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do,” she teased before adding: “But then again, I’ve really love the show. So . . .

Yeah, whatevs, J-Lo.

Back to Tyler: Basking in His Moment, he swore that his next few years would be dedicated to “kicking some serious [heinie] — the ultimate in auditory takeover.”

He then threw in a plug for Aerosmith’s new album, which he promised to unleash as far away as Mars. He added that “ ‘Idol’ was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it. . . . Now it’s time to bring Rock Back.”

And then he left fans with a parting thought: “ERMAHGERD.”

The most recent season of “Idol” wrapped in May with the smallest finale audience on record. After that, Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly and Chase Carey, chief operating officer of Fox parent NewsCorp, said there were changes in store for the show, and there has been much speculation as to who, if any, of the show’s three judges would be back.

The Reporters Who Cover Television — having grown weary while trying to cull fact from fiction when covering competition series judge casting — decided instead to plant their flag in every name out there.

Former “American Idol” non-winner Adam Lambert was a heavy favorite. Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey and will.i.am are also on the growing list. TMZ even contributed Charlie Sheen and Jerry Lewis’s candidacies, as leaked to the celebrity site by no less a source than “Idol” exec producer Nigel Lythgoe — though TMZ did decide to note that Lythgoe might possibly be kidding.

The long-running singing competition last underwent a major shake-up in fall 2010, when host Ryan Seacrest unveiled Tyler and Lopez as the show’s new judges. They were replacing Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell — who had announced his departure to work on launching the show he hoped would take down “Idol.” Randy Jackson would be the only surviving judge.

When Seacrest unveiled aged squirt Tyler and pop star/ex-“In Living Color” Fly Girl dancer Jennifer Lopez to a crowd of “Idol” auditioners (and reporters) in Los Angeles, it came as a surprise to no one, given that their names had been the only ones left on the short list for weeks and weeks.

The big news that day instead was the addition of record-label honcho Jimmy Iovine as the show’s new Mentor in Chief. Tyler and J-Lo, who thought they were going to have their moment in the sun, seemed somewhat dazed at the turn that news conference took — especially Tyler, who periodically looked as though he had unhitched his brain to let it rest a spell. Which is also the best way to describe his two-season tenure as a judge on the still very popular Fox show.

Back then, Tyler didn’t sound so devoted to his Aerosmith colleagues. He took a question as to how his bandmates had reacted to the news he was taking the TV judging gig by saying: “At first, they were jealous,” because “they heard it through the press and not from me.”

“But four months ago, they were looking for another lead singer,” he noted.

“I spent a stint in Betty Ford. They have been judging me every day, and sometimes it hurt, but most times I came out through the wormhole a stronger person,” Tyler continued, looking more and more like a tiny volcano getting ready to spread molten lava over the countryside while hundreds flee.

Dish, DirecTV woes

Satellite programming providers and cable network-owning media behemoths — brawling over matters of high finance — have ripped Dora the Explorer from the arms of weeping infants, torn Betty White from the loving embrace of sexagenarians and otherwise generally made a menace of themselves.

Here’s the latest.

AMC, which hasn’t been carried on Dish Network since the end of June, announced Thursday that it would offer Dish subscribers the chance to stream the fifth-season debut of “Breaking Bad” for free this Sunday.

“AMC wants its loyal Dish viewers to experience the excitement of the ‘Breaking Bad’ premiere at the same time as their friends and neighbors,” the network said. “And we want to give Dish customers an extra week to switch providers so they can enjoy the rest of the season.”

This squabble began earlier this year when Dish, which has 14 million customers, told AMC Networks that it would drop its channels because the company forces it to carry IFC and WE to access a handful of popular series on its AMC network.

Dish dismissed the channels as too low-rated. “Hooey,” responded AMC, noting that its “The Walking Dead” is a cable-ratings record-setter and that “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are nothing to sneer at either in the ratings department. AMC said Dish actually dropped some of viewers’ fave shows because of an unrelated lawsuit between the two companies.

Meanwhile, Viacom — parent company of Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and other cable networks — this week retaliated against DirecTV, which has dropped Viacom’s networks, by pulling popular show streams from its Web sites.That includes Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and ‘The Colbert Report,” MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” and Nick’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer.”

Viacom said that it pared back the number of full-length show episodes available on its Web sites because DirecTV had started marketing those Web streams to its customers as the place to watch the shows while they were not available on DirecTV.

Earlier this week, Viacom-owned networks — Comedy Central, MTV, TV Land, BET, Spike, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc. — went dark on DirecTV.

“VIACOM HAS PULLED THEIR CHANNELS. Now they’re blocking you from their best online content,” DirecTV raged Thursday.

DirecTV also took issue with ads that Viacom had been running on Nick, warning children that they were about to lose their favorite TV shows.

“It’s always wrong to have an actor or comedian say things in support of people who can make them even richer, and especially when it comes at our customers’ expense, but it’s indefensible to try to use children’s trusted cartoon characters like Dora the Explorer to try to trick and scare them,” DirecTV scolded.

Entertainment Weekly jumped on that bandwagon, interviewing the mother of a 3-year-old who said Junior was in tears when he saw the commercial, asking her: “I’ll never get to watch Dora again, Mommy. Why are they doing that? . . . I love Dora.”

Viacom wants DirecTV to pay 30 percent more in carriage fees. Viacom likes to call it a couple of pennies per day per subscriber; DirecTV prefers to call it a billion dollars in costs to DirecTV customers.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/
tvblog.

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