*Following months of hearsay that Randy Jackson, the lone remaining original “American Idol” judge, may move to a mentor role on the show next season, in a last-minute move, Fox has made a deal with him to return to the judging table, reports Deadline.com.
According to sources close to the situation, the network already had an option on Jackson, so the deal-making was relatively straightforward and was wrapped quickly after talks with Enrique Iglesias broke off.
Sources indicate that the reasons to move away from Iglesias, who had been in negotiations for the gig, were not strictly financial. At TCA in July, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said that he fully expected Jackson to be back on the show without elaborating in what capacity.
“Just heard Randy is back on Idol,” former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell tweeted Monday night. “Right decision.”
As Mariah Carey’s co-manager, Jackson played an important part in getting her on the show, according to Deadline. Now, with both of their deals done, Fox is expected to unveil the new four-person judging panel this week as it finalizes the contracts for newcomers Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj.