Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler Join ‘Idol’ as Judges

“American Idol,” the most-watched U.S. television show, said Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and actress Jennifer Lopez will be judges for the singing competition’s 10th season.

Tyler and Lopez are joining Randy Jackson, an original judge, in time for the start of auditions today, “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest said at an event in Los Angeles. Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi have left the Fox TV program, making Jackson the only remaining judge from last season.

The News Corp.-owned network is revamping “Idol” with a higher priority on music with the addition of Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope record label, as a consultant and the return of Nigel Lythgoe as producer. “Idol” ratings dropped 9 percent last season, according to Nielsen Co. data.

“I want to bring some rock to this roller coaster,” Tyler said at the news conference.

“Idol” was the most-watched prime-time program in the broadcast TV season that ended in May. The twice-weekly talent contest averaged 24.9 million viewers on Tuesday nights and 23.7 million on Wednesdays. The show was also the most popular among the 18-to-49 year-old viewers that advertisers target.

Cowell, an original judge on the program, left to start a new talent show, “The X-Factor,” which will also air on Fox, starting in September 2011.

‘Idol’ Music Rights

Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record label, gained rights to “Idol” performers for the 10th season, replacing Sony Corp.’s music division, the show’s producers announced last month. Universal will develop, distribute and market the finalists. Since its 2001 debut, “Idol” has generated more music sales than any U.S. TV show in history, CKX Inc.’s 19 Entertainment unit, which created the show, said last month.

News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, fell 32 cents to $13.50 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The Class A shares have declined 1.4 percent this year.

Lopez also entered into an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Films and Fox Broadcasting Co., giving the News Corp. divisions a “first-look” at projects from her Nuyorican Productions.

Lopez, 40, first appeared in the spotlight on the TV show “In Living Color” in the early 1990s and was further catapulted by her portrayal of the Latin-music chart-topping singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez in “Selena.”

As a singer, Lopez has sold more than 55 million albums worldwide, according to Fox, including her 1999 debut “On the 6,” “J. Lo,” “J To Tha L-O! The Remixes” and “This Is Me _ Then.” Lopez, who’s married to singer Marc Anthony, parted with her record label Sony/Epic earlier this year and is scheduled to release her new album “Love?” in December.

‘Idol’ Owners

Tyler, the 62-year-old lead singer for rock band Aerosmith, is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Members of the band, known for songs such as “Walk This Way” and “Janie’s Got a Gun,” have been playing together since 1970 and have sold more than 100 million records, Fox said.

CKX owns two-thirds of the “Idol” brand and co-produces the show in the U.S. with Fremantle Media, owner of the rest, according to the company’s annual report. CKX’s 19 Entertainment has a global television and production agreement with Fremantle. In 2005 CKX bought 19 Entertainment, which was founded by Simon Fuller, the creator of the “Idol” series.

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