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'D.C. Cupcakes' will get second season; only Ryan Seacrest certain on 'Idol'
They only made that announcement, Rice said, because they thought it would be "disingenuous" to come to the press tour and talk about Ellen on the show when they knew she was not coming back.
According to Rice, DeGeneres had told the network in June she "did not feel like the show was a good fit for her."
Fox tried to talk Ellen into staying, promising her things would be "different" this coming season. But she persisted and the network finally agreed to look for someone to replace her -- no skin off their nose, since "we were doing it anyway, because Simon [Cowell] was leaving," Rice said.
At some point, the network had the option to tell her "we can't replace you" or "we can move on without you," he continued.
As of last week, they apparently were close enough with a deal to replace Ellen to hit the "send" button on the announcement of Ellen's exit.
Rice and Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly, who was onstage with him warming a chair for a good chunk of their Q&A session, also refused to comment on reports the contract of judge Kara DioGuardi had not been renewed and the show would return to a three-judge format.
"It's a really good question. I'm not going to get into speculation about it," Rice said when asked.
Nor would the men comment on reports that Randy Jackson, the only remaining member of the original judge panel, is coming back to the show when it returns to Fox's lineup in January 2011 (Cowell left the show in May).
E! got more information hanging out at the 2010 Farmers Classic tennis tournament at UCLA (which, E! wanted us to know, is "presented by Mercedes-Benz.") "The only thing that's for sure is Ryan [Seacrest]" is coming back, Jackson told E! at that tourny, adding, "Nothing has been decided."
Likewise, it was ixnay on the ommentcay when asked about reports that former show exec producer Nigel Lythgoe is returning triumphant to the show after having been pushed aside a couple of seasons back when that was their Really Bright Idea for jump-starting "Idol" and revving up ratings.
Rice said he hoped to have a judge panel in place by the time auditions begin in earnest in mid-September.
"I'm doing it," Tyler told celebrity suck-up mag reporters on Saturday about the "Idol" judging gig, as he was heading from his Las Vegas concert to an after-party at Studio 54.
An upcoming "Glee" episode will include several tunes written by Paul McCartney, but it nearly didn't happen. Show co-creator Ryan Murphy said he got a "mix tape" from McCartney and, well: "I thought I was being punked."
Murphy opened the package to find two CDs and a handwritten note that said: "Hi Ryan, Hope you can use some of these songs for 'Glee' -- Paul."
"Some of these songs" included the Beatles' ballad "Michelle." "I was gobsmacked -- I grew up [on] the guy," Murphy told TV critics Monday.
Murphy plans to use plenty of McCartney tunes, but the Artist Formerly Known as the Cute Beatle is not getting the full-episode tribute treatment, Murphy said. That distinction is reserved for the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga and, this coming season, Britney Spears and an unnamed pop star who will be the focus of the post-Super Bowl episode.