Jennifer Lopez back for 11th season of 'American Idol'
J-Lo is back -- though maybe not for as long as Fox wanted her.
Fox announced Wednesday that Jennifer Lopez would return in January to the judges table for the 11th season of "American Idol," joining Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, who already re-upped. The news confirms what executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told Ryan Seacrest on Seacrest's radio show last week.
But the producers didn't get exactly what they sought. In lengthy talks with Lopez they were pushing for a multiyear contract, but the star would agree only to a one-year extension, according to a source familiar with the deal. Reports pegged her new salary at $20 million, a huge bump from $12 million this year. Tyler has another two seasons on his deal.
A Fox spokeswoman said the network wouldn't comment on contract specifics.
"Idol" may have had little choice. Ratings for the 10th season that wrapped in May were stronger than many expected, with many reviewers praising Lopez and Tyler for reinvigorating the show (on the other hand, some critics complained that they offered too much happy talk and too little substantive commentary). No word on whether J-Lo would rejoin Marc Anthony for another rump-shaking "Idol" live performance: The pair recently announced they're ending their marriage.
Interestingly, the release announcing the judging trio's return contained quotes from "Idol" creator Simon Fuller, executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Fox reality chief Mike Darnell, but not from Lythgoe.
Here's the canned quote from Darnell: "From the very first day of auditions, we knew we had something special in our new judges panel, and we're so happy that America felt that way, too."
OK, Trackers: What do you think of these judges?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Steven Tyler, Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson will all return for Season 11 of "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox