After serving as a judge for just one season, Ellen DeGeneres is leaving American Idol, Fox confirmed in a statement Thursday night.
"A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres says in the statement.
"I told them I wouldn't leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next."
DeGeneres, 52, replaced Paula Abdul as judge for the show's ninth season, sitting at the table with Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi.
"It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for," the star continues.
"I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on Idol and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be."
"I loved Ellen's passion for the artists and her nurturing skills," Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller says in the statement. "She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly."
The show's lower-rated ninth season saw Lee DeWyze crowned as the champ; it was also the final season for imposing judge Cowell, who left to develop his own projects.
Among the many names mentioned as possible Cowell replacements for the show: Bret Michaels, Elton John, Jessica Simpson, Howard Stern and others.
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