Ellen Quits as "Idol" Judge

"It was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings"

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 6:19 PM PDT
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Stars Salute Simon as "Idol" Crowns Upset Winner

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TV personality Ellen DeGeneres is calling it quits on "Idol."

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Ellen DeGeneres has followed Simon and Paula out the door on "Idol." 

The comedian-talk show host revealed Thursday that's she's decided not to re-up for a second season as "American Idol" judge.

"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 said in a statement to People. "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, who came on board last season to replace Paula Abdul as judge, said leaving the show was a "difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.”

But it wasn't just the schedule, she said. 

“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," DeGeneres told People.

Her resignation gives "American Idol" two vacancies on its judging panel going into season 10. Fox has yet to announce a replacement for Simon Cowell, who left at the end of last season to bring his British talent show, "The X Factor," stateside on Fox.

“We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of Idol," Peter Rice, chairman of Fox entertainment, told People in a statement. "We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.”

Meanwhile, the parade of stars who have clamored to sign on as "Idol" judges or been rumored to be in discussions with producers about joining the show has included: rap mogul Diddy, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Donald Trump, Elton John, Brett Michaels, Harry Connick Jr., Shania Twain, Chris Isaak, Courtney Love, and Howard Stern.

Former "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has suggested the show replace all its existing judges.

With "Idol" facing ratings erosion, DeGeneres' exit gives Fox the chance to make a fresh start with a revamped judging panel when the show returns in January.

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