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No news on Idol judges

THE MYSTERY CONTINUES: Fox Network Chairman Peter Rice had no news about the 10th season of American Idol to offer a crowd of TV critics gathered at the Beverly Hills Hilton yesterday, the N.Y. Daily News reports. "The only thing I can tell you with absolutely certainty right now is that no one has signed a deal yet, on either side of the camera, to join American Ido' next year who wasn't on it last year," said Rice. He wouldn't even say if the series would keep the four-person panel or return to three, nor would he confirm if former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe would return to the series, as rumored. Rice also said that some of the speculation about who will join the show (names thrown into the mix have included Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Justin Timberlake, Bret Michaels, Jessica Simpson and Howard Stern) has been on target, while some has been "wildly inaccurate." He did confirm that every person spoken to about the job has some sort of musical background. All the speculation "is a reminder of how intensely people feel about the show and how connected they are to the show," said Rice. (8/3a)

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