Later, dawg! Randy Jackson's Idol days are over. Amid reports that Fox wants to replace all four judges on American Idol next season -- including Jackson, the only judge who has remained with the show since its start in 2002 -- the famed record producer confirms to Us Weekly that he is, in fact, leaving the show to pursue other projects.
"Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided it is time to leave after this season," he tells Us. "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."
Until now, Jackson, 56, has been the one constant, aside from host Ryan Seacrest, during the Fox series' decade-plus run. As the only remaining original panelist, he has outlasted former judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler.
The news of his departure comes just hours after The Wrap posted a report claiming that Fox plans to fire and replace Jackson and his current costars -- Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban -- before season 13 of the competition. "All four are gone," one insider is quoted as saying. "They feel they've lost their core audience, and they want it back."
Reps for Jackson, Carey, and Minaj did not reply to The Wrap's request for comment. Reps for Fox and Urban declined to comment.